Sisters of Mercy to send medical team to Haiti for fifth time

From the press release:

In early April, Asheville-based Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care is sending a fifth team of medical volunteers to Haiti, which is still recovering from the devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck in January 2010. But for the first time, the volunteers will be able to travel directly to patients thanks to a new 2012 Volkswagen Amarok the organization has donated to relief efforts.

“On previous trips, the patients have had to trek miles to a makeshift clinic set up in the courtyard of what was left of a hospital,” said Sharon Owen, fundraising coordinator for Sisters of Mercy Services. “But thanks to the generosity of our patients, our vendors, our employees, our boards and the community, we’ve purchased a four-wheel-drive vehicle that will enable us to go directly to the tent cities to provide care.”

The team of five, which will be led by Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care’s Medical Director Dr. Ellen Lawson, departs April 1 for a week in the Caribbean country, where an estimated 600,000 people are still living in tents. After they return, the vehicle – which has been named the Mercy Wagon – will remain in Haiti with Drs. Vladimyr Roseau and Merline Milien, who will continue to use it for mobile triage services.

This trip is part of Sisters of Mercy’s ongoing “Have a Heart for Haiti” efforts, which to date have collected more than $33,000 in cash and pledges. Sisters of Mercy staff have raised money via a cookbook sale and golf tournament, and instead of having a service awards banquet in early 2010, they canceled the event and donated the money to Haiti relief.

Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care has also received a great deal of support from its vendors and the community. Dr. David Stern of Practice Velocity made a substantial donation for the purchase of the Mercy Wagon, Aidarex Pharmaceuticals has provided an estimated $98,000 in medication to date, and the North Carolina Baptist Men are coordinating logistics. This was especially important for the safety of the first team in February 2010.

“This experience has awakened in each of us the desire to serve and an understanding of what the Sisters of Mercy were founded to do,” said Dr. Lawson. “Mercy is truly on the ground in Haiti, and it’s present in new ways in our hearts every time we return to Asheville from that country.”

Sisters of Mercy Services continues to seek donations of supplies for the April trip. Of particular need are cloth diapers, powdered infant formula, deodorant, soap, toothpaste and mosquito repellent. Financial donations are also welcome, and all gifts are tax-deductible. For more information or to donate, contact the Catherine McAuley MERCY Foundation at (828) 281-2598, or send donations marked “Haiti” to CMMF, P. O. Box. 16367, Asheville, NC 28816 or on-line at

About Asheville-based Sisters of Mercy Services: SOMS includes Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care, Mercy Occupational Medicine, Frances Warde Family Health and Catherine McAuley MERCY Foundation. In 2011, SOMS provided more than $1.5 million in under compensated and uncompensated care and saved the community an estimated $11.5 million through ER avoidance. This year marks the 112th year of service by the Sisters of Mercy in Western North Carolina and the 27th year of existence for the local, nonprofit Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care.

Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care offers affordable treatment of non-life threatening illnesses and injuries by board-certified physicians at four locations in Asheville, Weaverville and Brevard. To date, the organization has served more than a million patients in the WNC region. No appointment is necessary, and the Asheville locations are open seven days a week, 362 days a year.


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