Steve Taylor is a cardiovascular perfusionist and lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada. After learning about ICHF from a colleague, he began volunteering in 2008. Steve was looking for an opportunity to contribute to an organization that not only provided surgery to pediatric patients but also worked to equip local doctors and staff with the knowledge and tools necessary to perform complex procedures, something many developing countries don’t have adequate access to.
His first trip with ICHF was to Honduras, and he’s now visited the country nearly every year with the Babyheart team. Last year, he traveled to Jimaní, Dominican Republic, and he will be joining the team later this month in Georgetown, Guyana, for ICHF’s very first medical mission trip in the South American country.
Make a difference by volunteering
As an ICHF volunteer, two moments stand out to Steve. He recalls seeing the pediatric intensive care unit at a local hospital full of children who had just received surgery over the past few days. The room was buzzing with activity, filled with patients and family members who would soon be taking their children home. He knew their lives had been forever changed.
And once, back in Halifax, Steve remembers speaking with a fellow ICHF volunteer from his home hospital about a trip she had just returned from. After hearing about her experience, he understood ICHF’s mission was to leave a legacy in each country and hospital they visit by not only performing life-saving surgeries but also by training and educating local surgeons and nurses to perform procedures they weren’t skilled in before.
Steve encourages all volunteers to have an open mind about trip experiences. “ICHF brings you for your knowledge and skills, which are vital for the success of these trips, but what you gain from your interaction with other volunteers, patients, families and local staff is very rewarding as well,” he said.
A big need ICHF must fulfill is medical equipment. Steve frequently works with his home hospital to donate equipment that still has many years of use left to utilize. We are very excited to share that for our very first trip to Guyana, Steve was able to secure the donation of a heart lung bypass machine from his hospital in Halifax, IWK Health Center, to send to the hospital where the ICHF team will be operating! This machine supports the body while the heart is stopped during surgery, and Steve prepared it to be shipped, sent it all the way to Guyana and will now be the first person to operate it in the country.
Donating equipment is one more way our amazing supporters can help ICHF! We thank Steve and all of our wonderful volunteers that help us do what we do!