Heroes Amongst Us: Team Broken Earth

Team Broken Earth, Haiti

Team Broken Earth, Haiti

A hero is somebody who is selfless, who is generous in spirit, who just tries to give back as much as possible and help people. A hero to me is someone who saves people and who really deeply cares.”
Debi Mazar

Actress Debi Mazar may have played her share of good and nasty characters in her career, but her insight into heroism certainly rings true to us at Eastern Health.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. And in health care, there are many examples of people who give selflessly, work tirelessly and care deeply. We are proud to count amongst our health care avengers Dr. Natalie Bridger, an infection disease specialist, and Brenda Earles, a registered nurse. In 2013, CHICA- Canada, the Community and Hospital Infection Control Association, presented the Moira Walker Memorial Award to Bridger and Earles for their work with Team Broken Earth.

Infection Prevention and Control, Eastern Health

The Moira Walker Memorial Award for International Service honours an individual or group that has demonstrated extraordinary efforts to bring about change or improvement related to infection prevention and control in parts of the world that are under developed or under resourced.

Natalie and Brenda are amongst a growing contingent of Eastern Health employees and physicians who have contributed their own time and talents to Team Broken Earth, assembled to support the relief effort in Haiti, and to restore strength and hope to the Haitian people in the aftermath of one of the most devastating natural disasters in recent history. They are all heroes.

Here’s how Shirley MacNeill, Emergency Room Nurse and Team Broken Earth volunteer, described her return visit in 2011:  “I have something in my heart that is telling me that I have to go back. This is my second mission to Haiti since the earthquake. I know I am only giving a little bit but if everyone gives a little, then it’ll all come together. My hope is to just help as many people that come into the emergency room as possible and provide care to those people who need it for the week we are there.”

The team is featured in a documentary demonstrating their ongoing work, and Natalie and her colleague, Dr. Andrew Furey, were featured at the popular TedX in St. John’s in June 2013. Furey, an orthopaedic trauma surgeon for Eastern Health, is the driving force behind the initiative which has now spread beyond Newfoundland and Labrador to other Canadian centres. He has received provincial, national and international recognition for his efforts and has been featured in newscasts and websites, including this great profile.

If you would like to learn more about or to donate to Team Broken Earth, visit their website: www.brokenearth.ca. ■

This story was written by Susan Bonnell, Director of Employee Communications with Corporate Communications in St. John’s.

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