To give back when one has been given so much is a hallmark of gratitude, in my estimation. I have so much to be grateful for in the life that I live. For this reason it has been a tremendous honor and privilege to have participated in five Operation Walk mission trips to date – two with Operation Walk Denver, and three with Operation Walk Carolinas. With each one of those trips, however, I continue to be on the receiving end; I am renewed mentally, emotionally, and spiritually each time.
It is humbling and thrilling at the same time to watch an individual walk for the first time in years; to see another actually sit upright in a chair when they’ve been relegated to a prostrate posture for decades; to hear a father say that now that his joint is fixed, he’s going back to work so that his child, who’s been caring for him for so long, can go back to school herself. And the patients are not the only ones who benefit from these life-altering joint replacements – we teach the local surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, and anyone else interested, so that learning and skills are enhanced and perpetuated. With Operation Walk Carolinas, when we change a joint, we change a community.