The mission in action
The mission of Direct Relief International is to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty, disaster and civil unrest. It is my first week in my role as the Communications and Marketing Team Lead at Direct Relief and we have been thrown into action to respond to the Colorado wildfires.
Being from the East Coast, wildfires are something that I have never experienced firsthand and my only exposure has come from what I see in the news. Whenever I heard about wildfires I just always thought about people losing their homes and possessions. Up until now I never made a link to health issues. My new colleagues at Direct Relief explained to me that while people may lose their homes, there is a devastating impact on the health issues such as:
• Particulate matter in the wildfire smoke can irritate the eyes and respiratory system
• Evacuees with chronic health conditions may leave their medications behind
To help combat the impact of the wildfires on the health of the evacuees, Direct Relief has responded by reaching out to their partner clinics, in and around the wildfire area in Colorado, and preparing shipments of much needed medical and personal hygiene supplies.
Being here in the Direct Relief offices experiencing how they react in times of disaster has brought such a renewed sense of purpose to me and a profound level of respect for the work they do. Immediately, the team sprung to work learning who is impacted and what they need and sending it. The team responded in such a quick and efficient manner that it is mind blowing. As I have learned in my few short days here, they are able to respond so quickly during times of disaster because they work with their partner organizations everyday and they know who will get the help to the people who need it most.
I’ve often said that in my role at GSK it was hard to see how I actually contributed to the mission of the company because I don’t discover, make or sell our products. Today, I got to be hands on and see Direct Relief’s mission in action.
If you would like to help Direct Relief respond to this disaster or support them in any way, it would be greatly appreciated.