Benefit concert coming for DOT team

Six University of Lethbridge pre-medical students have planned a benefit concert and silent auction to help fund a medical mission trip to El Salvador this summer.

For the Love of Music: For the Love of Medicine, is being held on Friday, June 4 at the College Drive Community Church. A silent auction opens at 6:30 p.m., with the performance starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Doctors of Tomorrow (DOT) team, consisting of Michael Shields, Cole Leavitt, Samantha Gilbert, Munima Alam, Joseph MacDonald and Mark Carrell, will be travelling to rural communities near Izalco, El Salvador with the Flying Doctors of Canada (FDOC), a charitable organization founded by U of L alumnus and former Lethbridge resident Dr. Benjamin Cavilla.

"The purpose of our trip is to help El Salvadorians in remote rural areas who otherwise would not have access to primary healthcare," says Michael Shields, a team leader.

"Our goal is to provide changes that will better the quality of life and that can be sustained by local efforts once we leave. Through primary health care we can fix immediate medical problems, and through construction of water filters and Eco-stoves we prevent those same problems from recurring in the future."

A total of 35 volunteers from across Canada will take part in this mission, including doctors, surgeons, medical and pre-medical students, medical lab and radiation technologists, and an engineer.

Last summer, the Flying Doctors of Canada had their first medical mission to Central America, travelling to Nicaragua to provide medical aid, community health education and developmental projects to citizens living in similar conditions of poverty as those in El Salvador.

"Last year, in Nicaragua, we constructed and delivered 12 water filters to families who did not have any source of clean water. The best part, for me, is knowing that one year later, all 12 of those filters are still being used," says Shields. "This year's trip will have much the same focus, and I can't wait to see how many more lives we can change."

This year, the Flying Doctors of Canada will be partnering with two other international humanitarian organizations.

Los Medicos Voladores of the United States and The Fundacíon para el Desarrollo Comunal y Municipal (FUDECOM) of El Salvador will partner with the Flying Doctors of Canada to ensure sustainable and ongoing healthcare and community development.

Half of all proceeds from the Friday, June 4 benefit will be used to buy basic medical supplies such as antibiotics, while the remaining half will support the students' trip administration fee of $2,000 per student (this includes transportation, food, and accommodations while abroad).

Performers featured on the program also have a strong connection to the University of Lethbridge, and include Jesse Plessis and Bente Hansen on piano, Mark Nemeth and Joe Porter's percussion duet, Dale Ketcheson of the Faculty of Fine Arts on classical guitar, and Nicole Higginson (BFA/BEd) with MaryAnn Boorsma and Jessica Ens on vocals.

To contribute with silent auction donations or monetary donations, please contact the Doctors of Tomorrow team at: Tickets may be purchased from Note-Able Music and Music Court and are also available at the door.