Tuscarawas County Volunteer Carol Radefeld, and her late husband, Bud, were known for traveling the globe with Medical Mission International (MMI), having completed 57 two-week trips during their marriage.

After breaking his hip in 2011, Carol and Bud thought that was the time to let the “kids” take over the trips and step away from their roles as a surgical unit nurse and Medical Director, respectively. In 2015, at the age of 96, Bud passed away, and Carol was sure she would never complete another trip.

Learning to live life without Bud was difficult, and she was blessed to have many friends and family supporting her in her grieving. During that time, she had gotten many calls from former mission participants, directors, and even from the Dominican physician who was in charge of all of the Dominican Republic projects, inviting her to come back on a project. Each time she gave the same answer – “I just can’t do it!” That changed in the fall of 2016 when Carol received a call from Marc, a surgeon that she highly respected, who wanted Carol to join him on a trip in February 2017. Carol and Bud had always hoped that Marc would take over as Medical Director, and Carol told him that she would “consider it.” As she reached out to friends and colleagues for advice, she received the same answer over and over – “We will go if you go!” With the needed team members on board, supplies, clothes, medication, and monetary donations began to pour in. Carol could truly feel Bud’s gentle nudging and support throughout the preparation process. The trip was incredible. The team was able to share important health information, and their faith, with 1,413 patients.

In the medical clinic, 404 adults and 168 children received medical care, 95 lab procedures were completed, 456 parasite treatments, and 2,771 prescriptions were filled. The dental clinic served 160 patients, performing 130 extractions, 103 cleanings, 159 restorations, and 56 fluoride treatments. The eye team completed 227 eye exams, giving out 90 pairs of glasses to those in need. In the local hospital, the surgery team performed 218 minor procedures and 95 major surgeries.

Carol’s decision to go on her 58th Mission Trip was further validated when she was introduced to a 19-year-old woman, whom Carol had helped deliver via C-section on a previous mission trip to the same hospital. This was the first C-section ever performed by a team from MMI, as it was the only opportunity to save both mother and baby. There was no chance in this meeting, as Carol feels Bud certainly had a hand in it. If given the opportunity, Carol hopes to travel on another MMI trip in the future and wants to share that you do not have to be medically trained to be a part of this experience! Learn more at http://www.mmicanada.ca.