Helping Haiti Heal
Last month Dr. Nicholson, optometrist, and Heather, certified ophthalmic assistant, traveled to Haiti with Cross Catholic Outreach on a surgical mission to “help people see their best.” They served over 400 patients between the ages of sixteen months and ninety-four years with a variety of eye issues, such as pre and post-operative cataract care, glaucoma, assisted with YAG lasers, capsulotomies, and/or selective laser Trabeculoplastys.
How We Got Involved
Heather was introduced to the mission by her sister Gretchen, an OR nurse at another ophthalmologist’s office in 2016.
“I jokingly asked my sister if I could go and help [thinking she’d say no],” she recalls. “A few days later she told me her doctor said I could come along and join the team. They taught me everything I needed to know on the job.”
Heather then asked Dr. Nicholson to accompany her in 2018 since he had been on similar trips with different organizations. They stayed on a compound with twenty-five buildings, outdoor classrooms, and a clinic that they worked in during their stay. Every day provided a challenge, each worth every moment.
A Humbling Experience
“The most rewarding part of this trip is being able to help those people who don’t have access or the funds to health care that we have in the United States,” Nicholson explains.
For Heather the trip to Haiti was an educational opportunity. She saw things she’d never seen before that deeply affected her heart.
Dr. Nicholson and Heather at Haiti Airport on their way back home.“These people sit outside all day in 90°F degree weather and they don’t complain at all. They’re just happy that you’re there to see them” Heather says. “They could just get a bottle of eye drops and they’re so happy. The little things to us are huge to them. It’s humbling.”
Continuing to Give Back
Both Dr. Nicholson and Heather hope to continue to foster relationships with Cross Catholic Outreach and continue to serve in underprivileged communities as we have seen in countries like Haiti and Guatemala.
“I feel very grateful to be a part of a company that will let me take time off to do this and to work with a doctor who enjoys doing things like this,” Heather said.