Jamie Hooker

Jamie Hooker

TRU students head to Peru on medical mission

A group of seven students and a professor from TRU are heading to Peru next month on a medical mission.

A group of seven students and a professor from Thompson Rivers University’s Respiratory Therapy program in Kamloops are heading to Peru next month on a medical mission.

Second year student Jamie Hooker, who graduated from Columneetza Secondary School in Williams Lake, is part of the delegation.

While home for Easter, Hooker told the Tribune the group will be in Peru for two weeks. They’ll spend time in the jungle, time in higher elevations such as  Machu Picchu, and at a university in Lima.

“The itinerary isn’t set in stone yet, but we will be taking a bunch of our respiratory equipment there, and we’ll teach people how to use it,” Hooker said.

In rural areas, the students will conduct baseline assessments for blood pressure, heart rates, and do basic checkups.

“Some people in those communities don’t even see a doctor once a year, so it’s going to be a rewarding experience,” Hooker said. A student who attended last year’s Peru trip told Hooker in one day they did more than 400 assessments.

Lynn MacIsaac-Beaton, a clinical educator at B.C. Children’s Hospital, is also part of the delegation.

Part of their stay will be in a monastery, as well as in hotels. The doctor who has invited the group feels obligated to cover their costs, however, the group wants to be able to cover some costs and so far has raised $14,569 of a $21,000 goal.

“We have one girl who works at a pub in Kamloops and she’s done steak dinners with raffles. We’ve had support of the Kamloops Blazers hockey team.”

Students in the respiratory program volunteer at a sleep clinic on the TRU campus and each year there’s a big sleep conference held there.

“We had people who work in respiratory therapy who attended the conference donate equipment. It’s been really great,” Hooker said.

So far 20 breathing machines for sleep apnea have been donated from companies, along with equipment from BC Children’s Hospital.

They are also bringing carbon monoxide monitors for people’s homes.

Hooker first heard about the respiratory program from the receptionist at her family dentist’s office when she was still in high school.

“I did some work experience with the respiratory therapist at our hospital and knew right away it was what I wanted to go into.”

Anyone interested in donating toward the mission can contact Hooker at jam_0014@hotmail.com .