On a blustery, bone-chilling, December morning, nurse Glenda Fuller faithfully arrived for her volunteer duties at Mission of Mercy’s free clinic. Her smiling face and energetic persona masked the fact that that she just completed an overnight shift at the local hospital. It was a blessing that she had energy to spare as she was to experience a “Mission of Mercy miracle”.
As patients began arriving a young boy presented at the clinic in the arms of his father. Glenda recognized the boy as Bryan, the 11-year old that was seen a few months previously for an upper respiratory infection. But, this time was different. He was pale, unresponsive and had no energy to navigate on his own. Glenda triaged him immediately and he was then rushed on to the mobile, medical unit. Our chief medical director, Dr. Sullivan and a volunteer physician from the emergency room of the local hospital, jumped into action. They collectively determined that Bryan was in dire need of hospitalization and might possibly have leukemia. The volunteer hospital emergency room physician, dialed Children’s Hospital in D.C. and called upon the expertise of one of his colleagues. He explained Bryan’s symptoms, adding that he had no insurance and was not fluent in English. His colleague suggested getting Bryan to Children’s Hospital as soon as possible. To expedite the process, Glenda, who also spoke the family’s language, agreed to transport Bryan and his father in her own vehicle. The emergency room physician quickly jotted down the directions (Glenda did not have a GPS), and off she went. Shortly into her drive she cracked her window, with the directions in hand and of course – out they flew! Frantically she called back to Mission of Mercy. As she was again receiving directions she was cut off by an ambulance. As she was recounting this experience the emergency room doctor says, “does the ambulance have a teddy bear on the back of it”? Checking she said, “it does”! The doctor responded by saying, “follow it, it is going to Children’s”. She did and they all arrived safely to be seen by the specialist who, after running tests, determined that Bryan did not have leukemia. But, another specialist, from NIH who was on rounds that day, determined that Bryan had aplastic anemia and accepted him into his study group! Bryan’s life was saved through the love, caring, compassion of Glenda and those physicians who “answered the call” to help a young boy who was gravely ill and disenfranchised.
So, on this cold, blistery December day our hearts were warmed by one of God’s miracles, Bryan’s healing through Mission of Mercy!
p.s. While Mission of Mercy generally provides free healthcare, dental care and prescription medications for adults with chronic health care issues occasionally we do see children.