Meet the Staff: Lucia Suarez

Lucia Suarez is a certified nurse who first began volunteering with MEDLIFE in February as a leader for a staircase project in her community. Now she joins us as both a patient follow-up coordinator and field nurse. Learn more about Lucia below:

luciameetstaffWhere are you from?

I was born in Ayacucho, a small town in the mountain ranges of Peru, but I have lived in Lima for the past eight years. I like it here, but I will never forget the language, food and traditions of my hometown.

How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?

I first got involved with MEDLIFE in February when I volunteered as a community leader for a staircase project MEDLIFE was working on in my community. That’s when I met Carlos, and from there I began volunteering for other staircase projects around the community. One day, Carlos asked me what I do for work, and I told him that I am a technical nurse. He then asked me if I would like to join MEDLIFE full-time. I’ve now been working as a nurse in the office for three months.

Can you name a patient that has had a strong impact on you?

Everyone we help has had a strong impression on me, as they all have very powerful stories. One of those patients in particular is Selvestrina, a lady from the mountains who speaks Quechua. As I also speak Quechua, Selvestrina and I are able to communicate well in the language. Although she has gone through many hardships, she always still has a smile on her face. Her house was robbed, her son was killed, and her husband left her to return to living in the mountains, but she always moves forward with a huge smile on her face. This is something that really touches my heart.

Are there things that still surprise you?luciaselvestrina1Lucia walking hand in hand and with her
patient, Selvestrina.

Almost all of the cases of the patients still surprise me, especially those of children. There are many children who don’t eat the way they are supposed to eat and have many health problems because of that. There are other children who don’t have proper adult supervision. It breaks my heart to see amount of poverty and hardship that happens in these communities.

What do you do on your free time?

Well, I’m always helping people. On the weekends after work, I help an elderly woman in my community with chores around her house and other tasks. And on the weekends, I’m involved with the elective board in my community. So I don’t really have “free time” per say, since I am always busy, but helping people is what I enjoy doing the most.

What do you like working about MEDLIFE?

Working for MEDLIFE means a lot for me. It’s a place where all of the staff and interns are side-by-side working for the greater good. Everyone is always committed and has a smile on their faces. And overall I just love being a general helping hand and serving people in need.

To learn more about Lucia’s work and our Patient Follow-Up program, click here.



Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.