Dr. Michelle Vessely
What is your background with this trip?
This will be my fourth cleft lip and palate surgical mission trip to CURE Kenya and my eleventh cleft trip. Our usual leaders for the Kenya trip, Dr. David Chang and Dr. Eric Dobratz are unable to go this year due to schedule conflicts, so I volunteered to lead the team. We are fortunate to have Dr. Cam Kirchner (this will be his eleventh trip to CURE Kenya) and Dr. Chase Miller (she travels all over Africa doing surgical mission trips 2-3 times per year) as part of our surgical team again this year.
Why do you go on these trips?
People often ask me this, and there are many reasons… At the core, however, I feel very blessed to have been given the education, resources and opportunities that allowed me to become a physician and I feel called to share these gifts with others. It gives me great joy to help alleviate the suffering of those who do not have the resources to access this type of medical care. As I look at the daunting tasks associated with planning these trips, I often feel inadequate and stretched. Then I remember these words by writer Frederick Buechner: “The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” For me, this is traveling to distant places to serve patients who would otherwise not receive care.