Meet our Partners: Dr. Joan Ross

9 February 2017
[:en]This month we are catching up with our partners to tell the story of why they #givelove monthly! Today we are showing our love for Dr. Joan Ross, an alumni and monthly donor.

Dr. Ross spends time with her patients in the ward.

Dr. Ross first heard about Mercy Ships when she saw a documentary on television about 10 years ago, as a young surgeon practicing in Ontario. “When the narrator said, ‘the line just never ends’ I decided then and there I would one day volunteer on that ship” Joan tells us.

Years later, Dr. Ross did indeed volunteer with Mercy Ships. In 2014 she boarded the Africa Mercy as a volunteer surgeon during the ship’s field service in the Republic of Congo.

What inspired you to give your first gift?

My first “gift” was to volunteer as a surgeon on the Ship after being inspired by the documentary 10 years earlier. I was skeptical to donate to another charitable organization at the time and determined I would have to see it to believe it! After being on the ship in person, I was disappointed that I hadn’t helped this cause much earlier, as everything is just as they show – they truly are giving free surgery at the highest standard, to the poorest nations in the world, and the donations truly are going directly to the real surgical needs of the people of those countries.

Why did you become a monthly donor?

I became a monthly donor after hosting a Benefit Concert for Mercy Ships put on by singer/songwriter Déni Gauthier. I was so pleased to see that many of my friends who listened to my short presentation about my experience on the Ship at intermission that night, understood that “the line never ends”. Many gave monthly donations rather than a one-time gift. I also decided to give my ongoing support to the magnificent work being done on the Ship, as well as continue to do speaking engagements to try to recruit other volunteers and monthly donors. In my time on the Ship I was awestruck to hear not only the steady thank yous from so many grateful patients, but every one of them always added, “Please keep Mercy Ships going so others will get the surgery they need also.”

How do you feel connected to Mercy Ships and the work while living in Canada and far from the ship?

The email newsletters and videos keep you very well connected with the lives that are being changed. I never watch a Mercy Ships video without being moved to tears, but also find myself cheering through my tears, as their smiles become “so big” when they see the transformation the surgery brings. The involvement I’ve had with the Organization personally, has been so amazing from the first email inquiry 4 years ago about volunteering. Every question is responded to with amazing promptness and cheerfulness, which allayed my fears and encouraged me incredibly. Every staff member I’ve been in contact with has become like family to me, both those I’ve met and those I haven’t. They all have so much passion and kindness. Since I agreed to join their Speaker’s Network, they have promptly and freely given me all the information I could ever need as I prepare for the many questions an inquiring audience might ask. They just make everything so very easy which is such a joy.

Since being a volunteer on the Ship, I saw firsthand that donations go directly towards people who desperately need surgery. I’ve seen how grateful every patient is for the gift of tangible hope, and this is nothing short of “love in action” which i personally know is most fulfilling to the giver. You can’t help but understand that it truly is “more blessed to give than to receive.”

Why do you think others should become monthly donors?

Monthly donations bring more stability to the day to day functioning of the Ship, and the ability to budget to keep the Ship going, for the great number of surgeries that need to done week by week, month by month, year by year.

Thank you Dr. Ross for your ongoing commitment to Mercy Ships, because of partners like you, one day the line will end. 

Are you interested in becoming a monthly partner? 

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