Timica Hawkins, who recently won Kempsey Shire Lifeguard of the year, will travel to Africa aboard the global hospital ship Africa Mercy to volunteer her physical therapist skills to the people of Cameroon.
Cameroon is one of the least developed countries in the world according to the United Nations Human Development Index with a life expectancy of only 59 years and eight doctors per 100,000 people. Meanwhile 60 per cent of Cameroonians cannot afford medical expenses.
"I applaud the Mercy Ships in their efforts of transformational development as they make a lasting difference in a world of need."- Nelson Mandela, former president South Africa
The Africa Mercy crew will provide health services to the people of Cameroon for 10 months.
Timica will serve from Jan 7, 2018 through to March 31 and has set up a Go Fund Me account to raise money for the trip which will put her out of pocket $8,000.
During the Africa Mercy’s 10-month stay volunteers will provide life-changing surgeries for adult and child patients on board, treat patients at land-based dental clinics, and provide holistic health care training to Cameroonian health care professionals.
Timica, who has been recognised by locals as someone who strives to give back to her community, grew up in Hat Head and attended Melville High School.
Working locally as an exercise physiologist with Keystone Health, Timica is an active volunteer member of Kempsey Crescent Head Surf Club and took out Lifeguard of the Year back in July.
Speaking to the Argus, Timica called out for help from her local community.
“Surprisingly to most, everyone – from doctors and nurses to cleaners and cooks – pay their own way to volunteer on this ship. I'd like to spread the word and increase awareness of what I'll be doing; as well as inform individuals and businesses on how they can support the cause through donations,” Timica said.
“The only thing is that I haven't got much time! My acceptance letter came through two weeks ago”.