Volunteer Spotlight: Lia Thompson Helps Classmates Run for Roatán

Her first morning in Roatán, Honduras, Lia Thompson stood on the island’s one paved road at 7 a.m. hailing a taxi.

“I was a little overwhelmed at first,” Lia says with a laugh, “but it’s actually really easy. You just stand on the side of the road you want to go down. It’s a cool little island.”

Soon enough, a cab came along and took Lia to the Roatán Volunteer Pediatric Clinic (RVPC), where she would spend the next five weeks as a Health Education & Advocacy Liaisons (HEAL) intern.

A health science major at Furman University in South Carolina, Lia was thrilled to find out about Global Healing’s HEAL program.

“I knew I wanted to volunteer abroad doing something in pediatrics and in a Spanish speaking country,” she says, “so the HEAL internship was everything I wanted all wrapped up in one.”

Lia accompanied the pediatric doctor on rounds while the doctor saw the patients in the emergency room first, and then went to the outpatient clinic where Lia helped register the patients. She especially loved working with the littlest patients—weighing and measuring babies and taking their temperature.

Access to free medical care on Roatán is very limited. The Ministry of Health operates two free family medicine clinics on the island, but the RVPC is the only free pediatric clinic. If it weren’t for the RVPC, patients’ families would have to pay for their children to see a pediatrician, an expense many cannot afford. 

Sometimes a patient needs care that is beyond the capacity of the RVPC facilities.

Lia remembers one little girl who was very ill when she arrived in the emergency room. She needed to be transported to the mainland for treatment, a cost her family could not afford.

“It was Global Healing that was able to make that happen,” says Lia. “I breathed a sigh of relief. You get really connected to the patients, and you realize how tangible an effect that sort of assistance can have on people’s lives.”

Runners at 5K

Runners about to start the race.

Back at Furman University for her senior year, Lia wanted to support Global Healing’s work in Roatán with patients and families. She hit on the idea of a 5K race around the Furman campus.

Knowing that “college students will do anything for a t-shirt,” Lia set the registration fee at $25, with runners getting a t-shirt and the remainder of the fee going to Global Healing.

The 5K Run for Roatán took place around a lake on a clear, sunny morning in April, with music and games at the finish line. We are so grateful to Lia for raising over $550 for Global Healing with this fun 5K run.

“I saw that the RVPC is doing really awesome work,” Lia says. “When you’re there you see the difference it can make in a resource-poor setting to have access to the medicines and equipment kids need— the things that really make a difference in a child’s health.”

Thank you, Lia, for making a difference now and in the future!