Volunteer Name: Christian Wood, BSVM 2018-2019
Alma Mater: University of Notre Dame
Placement Site: Patient Liaison, St. Martin’s Inpatient Unit, Bon Secours Baltimore Hospital
- Describe an influential experience that led you to a year of service.
One cool, spring day I found myself at a playground talking with Jessica, a patient who I had come to know through a clinic I worked at over the course of my senior year. After spending the year working with her I was able to meet with her outside of the clinic, and in escaping the confines of the hospital I found that our relationship gradually moved from medical in nature to something more personal. Jessica’s story was one of hardship, as it was marked by years of abuse and opiate addiction. It was also a tale of hope, which I was constantly reminded of through periodic interruptions in her story by either her energetic daughter or her newborn son. Jessica’s story was one of tragedy and triumph, with moments of intense suffering and equally powerful serenity; above all, however, her story was human.
I cherished Jessica’s story, and admired the vulnerability she showed by talking with me. Her story led me to seek out the stories of others, which in turn led me to a year at Bon Secours. Through my time here, I have already had countless experiences like this one with Jessica, and I cannot wait to encounter others and hear what they have to offer!
- What is one item on your bucket list? Why is it important to you?
This summer I spent two months hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. I ended up hiking roughly one third of the trail, and so I hope to go back throughout the rest of my life to finish it! I began the trail with three friends who I have known since elementary school, and so we have made it a competition to see who can finish it first. Admittedly one reason why I hope to finish it is to obtain bragging rights over these friends, but my motivation is greater than that. I had an incredible time in those first two months, as it brought me new perspectives, lasting friendships, and awe-inspiring views all the way until my journey’s conclusion in Northern California. Each day came with its own challenges as well, but they seemed only to make the spectacular moments more rewarding. I left the trail feeling as though I was merely taking a break from it, and I cannot wait to pick up where I left off sometime in the future!