07 Nov Catch Mercy Ships on BBC Radio 4 Appeal!
We’re thrilled to announce that Mercy Ships will be featured on the BBC Radio 4 Appeal this month!
This is a phenomenal opportunity for us to share the Mercy Ships story with more people, and we hope you’ll tune in.
The programme will feature Kirstie Randall, a longtime Mercy Ships volunteer. Kirstie will tell the story of two very special Mercy Ships patients: a mother and daughter called Valerie and Edith who live in Cameroon. Valerie lived with a 9-pound tumour on her face for two decades, and Edith developed a similar tumour when she was 7.
Thankfully, Mercy Ships was able to help them both.
You’ll hear more about Valerie and Edith on the Radio 4 Appeal. Listen on Sunday, 25 November. You can listen online, or tune in to BBC Radio 4 on FM 92.4-94.6, LW 198 at these times:
- Sunday, 25 Nov. at 7:54 and 21:26
- Thursday, 29 Nov. at 15:27
Today, we’d like to introduce you to another person you’ll meet in our Radio 4 Appeal: our amazing volunteer Kirstie. She started volunteering with Mercy Ships as a nurse in 2003 and has spent 11 of the last 15 years with the group, serving at various times as nursing ward supervisor, hospital director and director of medical capacity building.
Kirstie’s background as a nurse has shaped her perspective on her work, keeping her laser-focused on the Mercy Ships patients. “I just want them to know that they’re loved,” she says. “That’s really central to who I am and what I do.” She’s worked to spread that focus on love to her staff, too. When they’re approaching different challenges, she’ll often ask her team, “What do you think love looks like?”. For some patients, love could look like the healing provided through surgery. For the health professionals they meet, love might look like providing training that strengthens their ability to provide safe surgical care. At its core, working with Mercy Ships is all about loving others.
“It’s hard to explain, but part of what we do at Mercy Ships is truly loving people,” she said. “The surgery may be what they need, but it’s also about helping them understand they’re really loved for who they are.”
Kirstie has grown more and more passionate throughout her years with Mercy Ships. Although her skills as a nurse were useful in the UK, she realised that she was needed even more in Africa. “It’s a whole different level of need that made me want to offer what I had,” she said. Several years ago, when Mercy Ships was serving in the Congo, Kirstie was part of the pre-screening team — the front-line volunteers making their first contact to determine whether
individual patients can move to the next step toward potentially being treated.
She met a woman who had breast cancer, a tumour that was outwardly visible and had advanced far beyond anything Kirstie had ever seen. “It really hit me because my mum was going through exactly the same thing at that moment,” Kirstie said. “Whilst I was so thankful my mum could get all the treatment she needed, it just seemed an utter injustice that the lady right in front of me didn’t have that chance.”
“It was a striking moment where I realised people just don’t have access to what they need. It’s so wrong, and I will do everything I can to make a difference.”
Even after more than a decade serving with Mercy Ships, Kirstie is still growing and evolving. She’s taking a break from the ship to sharpen her French skills so she can better share her message of love with her French-speaking patients and colleagues when she returns to Africa. But it’s only a matter of time until she returns to the Africa Mercy. She knows there’s much work to be done and many more lives to change. “It’s a joy and privilege to work with this organisation because you can do a whole lot more with others than you can do by yourself,” Kirstie said. “I am never, ever going to stop doing this work.”