Students reflect on volunteer experience in Haiti

October 25, 2010 | Share |
A boy in Haiti (left) meets with WCU physical therapy students, from left, Brandon Hardee, Catherine Bevilacqua, Emily Nantz and Eric Collins, who traveled to Haiti to assist with physical therapy evaluations and treatments.

A boy in Haiti (left) meets with WCU physical therapy students, from left, Brandon Hardee, Catherine Bevilacqua, Emily Nantz and Eric Collins, who traveled to Haiti to assist with physical therapy evaluations and treatments.

Four Western Carolina University physical therapy students traveled to Haiti in May and assisted with physical therapy evaluations and treatments.

“Hearing all the news stories and seeing pictures can never really prepare you for an experience in a Third World country that has been through such a horrific natural disaster,” said Emily Nantz, a physical therapy graduate student from Lincolnton who participated. “However, I knew the moment the opportunity to go lend a hand presented itself to me that I was going to do everything I could to make the trip….  Not only did I get to make a difference in their lives by doing physical therapy evaluations and treatments, but I also was able to brighten their days solely by my presence. The hugs, tears, sweat and long days left a lasting impression. I look forward to serving there again whenever I have the chance.”

Eric Collins, a physical therapy student from Sylva, said the experience was surreal. “For as much poverty and devastation as there was, the spirit of the Haitian people was amazing,” said Collins. “The children played in the worst of conditions, but never stopped smiling. It was an honor to help out people who were grateful for the smallest of deeds.”

The students learned about the Hands of Light in Action-sponsored opportunity from and traveled with Tiffani Bacon, a physical therapist in Charlotte, who had gone to Haiti several times.

Eric Collins (left), a physical therapy student at Western Carolina University from Sylva, said he was moved by the spirit and smiles of the Haitian people.

Eric Collins (left), a physical therapy student at Western Carolina University from Sylva, said he was moved by the spirit and smiles of the Haitian people.

Patients waited in long lines for care in Haiti.

Patients waited in long lines for care in Haiti.

Emily Nantz (left) and Brandon Hardee (right) were students in Western Carolina University’s master’s degree program in physical therapy when they traveled to Haiti to assist with physical therapy evaluations and treatments.

Emily Nantz (left) and Brandon Hardee (right) were students in Western Carolina University’s master’s degree program in physical therapy when they traveled to Haiti to assist with physical therapy evaluations and treatments.


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