Future Doctor Goes the Extra Mile for Hope Air

For the sixth year in a row, a group of future doctors at UBC is supporting access to medical care by raising funds for Hope Air through The Run for Rural Medicine, a 5k/10k run taking place on Sunday March 10th in Vancouver. 
We would like to introduce you to Nazde, one of the medical students running for Hope Air.
What inspired you to run in the UBC Run for Rural Medicine?
This is my second year participating in the UBC Run for Rural Medicine, and there's a number of reasons for why I enjoy participating in this event. First of all, it brings together many medical students, their friends and families, as well as runners in the community for a fun morning of exercise, prizes and good conversation. Like most races, it encourages and promotes health through physical activity, and this is something that I am very passionate about. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, so it is nice to have a dedicated event or time set aside for an outdoor activity. Lastly, the event is non-profit, with all proceeds going to support a Hope Air, a charity that we as medical students believe is critical to creating an accessible healthcare system.

Do you have a personal connection to Hope Air? Or to issues around accessing medical care in rural areas? 
I don't have a personal connection to Hope Air, but as someone who is training to work in the healthcare system it is a charity that I feel makes a very big impact on people's lives. 

Why do you think it's important to raise money for Hope Air? 
We are lucky to live in a country where healthcare is publicly funded, but unfortunately this doesn't cover the cost of actually getting to the doctor's office or a hospital. Most large healthcare centres are located in urban centres, such as Vancouver, Toronto or Calgary. However, much of the population doesn't live near these big cities and it can be difficult to commute to appointments. Although telehealth is making a big difference in serving rural communities, there are still times when patients will need to physically be seen by a physician, get imaging or lab studies and receive treatment in an urban centre. This can be a very large barrier to accessing healthcare for lower income patients. Hope Air provides free medical travel for people across Canada of any age and with any illness. 

Why is it important to highlight the issues with access to rural medical care? 
I have spent most of my life growing up in the city, and find that I often take for granted how easy it is to seek medical care when I need it. It doesn't take me a lot of time and doesn't cost me much money to take a bus to the doctor, and I don't think twice about it. Unfortunately for many people that need to commute to an appointment, this may mean that they will need to take a day or two off of work, drive or fly long hours and pay for the cost of gas or a plane ticket. This can be a very large barrier for some, which results in patients cancelling their appointments or failing to seek appropriate medical care. As a consequence, many diseases can go undiagnosed or their progressions can't be followed as well as a physician would hope. In order to ensure that patients have better prognoses and that everyone has equal access to the care they deserve, we need to address this barrier. Hope Air provides travel funding for those who need to go to appointments with health care providers that don't exist in their communities, and this benefits many people greatly. 

What would you say to people thinking about donating to this cause, to convince them to donate?
I don't think that it is difficult to understand the positive impact that a charity like Hope Air has for patients in Canada, but I would encourage people that are thinking of donating to put themselves in the shoes of someone that may need to use this service. Geography and income shouldn't determine whether someone has the opportunity to access care, and we all deserve the chance to maintain our good health. 
To support this remarkable young woman’s run for patients who need access to medical care with a donation and leave her your message of encouragement, click here.

Posted on: Mar 06 2019