Riverhead grad headed to Peru to offer medical care

04/30/2013 10:30 AM |

COURTESY PHOTO | First-year medical student Sarah Flannery.

First-year medical student and Riverhead High School graduate Sarah Flannery is on a mission to help the medically underserved.

And she needs the community’s help to make it happen.

The 23-year-old will be traveling with 14 fellow medical students to Peru in June to bring free general medical care and supplies to a region with limited access to health care.

“When we get to Peru we will be given a training session on the most common things we should expect to see,” Ms. Flannery said. “I’ve heard a lot of children there are getting pneumonia, something that can easily be treated here.

It is more common there because these people don’t have regular access to doctors.”

The students, of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, are seeking donations of vitamins, over-the-counter medications, personal hygiene products and children’s clothing to supply to people in the region.

Cash donations to purchase these items would also help.

Each student is in charge of his or her own travel and lodging expenses, costing Ms. Flannery about $3,000. The mission, organized through the nonprofit International Service Learning Group, will last two weeks or until supplies run out.

“It’s all about having enough stuff to supply as many people as we can,” the 2008 Riverhead High School graduate said. “When we run out of stuff, we would have to close our clinic.”

The types of items in high demand: anti-inflammatory medicine such as Aleve or naproxen, antihistamines, feminine-care products like Monistat, cold medications — especially for children — and multivitamins.

Ms. Flannery will be leaving the U.S. on June 8 and said she’s looking forward to getting out of the classroom and putting things she has learned to good use.

“I’m pretty sure it will put me in a more optimistic standpoint, because you get to work with people and help them, as opposed to staying in the lecture hall,” she said.

For those looking to donate, Ms. Flannery’s family is willing to pick up goods on her behalf or they can be dropped off at 48 Ellen St. in Riverhead. Email Robin Flannery at [email protected] with any questions.

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