LUCOM hosts first successful Helping Hands gala for medical outreach
As Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) continues its commitment to improving access to medical care for underserved populations worldwide and toward the development of a servant mentality among its student-doctors and graduates, the college’s first Helping Hands black-tie gala made a big impact in supporting those efforts by striving to raise funds that will ultimately strengthen its already strong partnership with Hope of Life International (HOLI) in Guatemala.
The keynote speaker of the April 23 event at Liberty University’s LaHaye Student Center was 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner and the only Nobel Laureate from Guatemala, Dr. Rigoberta Menchú Tum.
Over the years, Dr. Menchú Tum has become widely known as a leading advocate of women’s rights, indigenous peoples native rights and ethno-cultural reconciliation in Guatemala, Central America and across the Western Hemisphere.
“As an advocate for the oppressed, the poor, and the suffering, Dr. Menchú Tum was the perfect representative to support the mission and vision of LUCOM Medical Outreach in helping the ‘least of these’,” said James Cook, director of medical outreach and international medicine.
All proceeds from the gala go toward aiding the establishment and operation of a comprehensive medical and health care clinic in Zacapa, Guatemala.
“The clinic will be instrumental in increasing reliable access to quality healthcare to thousands of patients. A location for the clinic has been selected, and a pledge to support the construction has been received, along with a separate challenge grant pledge to provide for the needed equipment and supplies. Construction and architectural plans are being drafted. We hope that we can break ground as early as January 2017,” said Cook.
During the Helping Hands event, pledges of approximately $750,000 to build and equip the clinic were revealed from WorldHelp and Gleaning for the World. In addition, supporters at the event raised another $10,000 in cash contributions for supplies, medicines, equipment and training.
“To educate a doctor requires dedication and hard work to develop the knowledge and skill required. To develop a physician requires much more. To develop a physician, you must develop more than the mind and clinical competencies, you have to develop the heart and the soul to produce a servant leader in the mold of Christ,” said Ronnie B. Martin, D.O., dean of LUCOM. “Our international outreach events and partners are critical in the development of physicians who will improve the lives of people across the globe. They are critical to meeting our mission and vision, and they are critical in our goal of improving the lives of others and demonstrating Christianity through a ministry of medical service to those in need.”
The generosity demonstrated by the support of the Helping Hands gala will promote LUCOM’s efforts toward improving health care in the underserved Zacapa region of Guatemala and across the globe. The new clinic is a tangible demonstration of the college’s commitment to the service of others and its partnership with HOLI. The new facility will support LUCOM’s mission and vision while, at the same time, providing a quality facility for student education.
“Proverbs 29:18 says, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ The Lord continues to work through His people, and we can directly see His results. HOLI, LUCOM, and the many partners involved are contributing to this vision becoming a reality,” said Cook.