Some of you may have heard a little about the Ebola crisis currently raging in West Africa. The epidemic has claimed the lives of over 7000 people and caused immeasurable damage to the health systems of the countries involved – a true tragedy. Here at Leicester Medical School we medical students we have neither the skills or the wiles to be of use on a mission abroad, actively helping to assist those who need it. We can, however, do one very important thing – Shake buckets!
As you’ve probably gathered, I had the joy of spending last Sunday in camped out in front of Highcross in Leicester city centre accosting strangers to raise money for the fight against Ebola. And by goodness were those strangers generous! The labcoats you can see were given to us by the charity we support, Medecins Sans Frontiers, and they really did seem to be effective in helping our fundraising – there’s evidently something about seeing a wild-eyed, bucket waving student in an oversized coat which makes people feel like reaching for their loose change!
This bucket shaking was all part of a week I took part in aimed at raising awareness for the Ebola crisis. We had talks from a Leicester’s chief microbiologist, who brought along two lovely assistants to demonstrate the personal protective equipment they use in high risk infectious patients, as well as a rip-roaring cake sale.
The most gruelling part of the week, however, was a campaign we did called “A week without touch”, which entailed not making skin-skin contact with another human being from Monday through Sunday. Honestly, I challenge you to try it – It’s amazing realising how many high fives you can give in one day, and how demoralising it is to have to slowly retract your hand when you realise contact is off limits. Sad times.
It was all worth it in the end, and we did manage to raise a good deal of money (and of course you can still donate at https://www.justgiving.com/FoMSF-Leicester/) – which is pretty useful, as I will be doing very little fundraising (or anything else for that matter) until after my OSCE exam next week (that’s an objective structured clinical skills exam for those not down with obtuse medico-lingo). Time to practise my respiratory exam – Wish me luck!
P.S. While we’re on the topic, check this song out – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruYQY6z3mV8 – Much better than Do They Know it’s Christmas!