While there, the team will be performing mostly ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeries. That includes, but is not limited to, surgeries for cleft lip, cleft pallet, and eye tumors.
Smith and the team will be in Kenya for ten days. Within those ten days, the team hopes to treat somewhere close to 1,000 people.
Smith had previously volunteered two years ago to assist on a mission trip, but sickness prevented her from going. After losing her chance to go, she remained in contact with the mission founder Steve James.
This time around, the team had a need for a CRNA, and Smith ws eager to go, even though the invite was on short notice.
“It was a spur of the moment thing,” said Smith. “Within four days, I had my tickets bought and everything ready.”
Smith stated that she volunteered for the trip because she always had a need or something inside of her that wanted to help people.
Some of her inspiration for volunteering came from James, who founded the group kenyarelief.org. James started the project after his 19-year-old daughter died in her freshman year of college in 2001. She had sponsored a child in Kenya while in high school.
After her death, he visited his daughter’s sponsored child Newton. After he saw the devastation and poverty in Kenya, he decided to form the project. Now, James and the foundation has an orphanage that houses over 100 children and a hospital.
“He (James) was an inspiration to me because he showed me how one person can start out so small and make something so wonderful out of it,” said Smith. “It inspired me after I talked to him, and that’s how it came to be (volunteering with the organization).”
This will be Smith’s first mission trip, but she is hoping it is the first of many.
“Everybody should be involved in ways to help others,” said Smith.
Smith formerly worked at Pineville Hospital. She is now looking for other opportunities within and outside the state.
For more information about the Kenya relief effort, visit kenyarelief.org.