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Students raise $12,000 by joining forces

There is power in numbers.
Gini Ikwuezunma, from left, Danya Jordan (Water Missions International), Katie Koval, Elaine Kao, Sheldon Bates, Kelsey Walsh, Beverly Pinder, Mallory Hudson, Heather Leisy and Steven Yu meet to discuss Water Missions International.

That’s what a group of medical students who head various campus groups found when they decided to join forces to raise money for disaster relief for Haiti through Water Missions International (WMI).
The group recently presented the nonprofit group a check for $12,000 that included matching funds through the Haiti Renewal Fund. Medical student Steven Yu said he had no idea when he sent out a mass e-mail after the earthquake in Haiti that he would get the response he did.
“It’s the proudest project I have ever worked on, and it truly exemplified the giving nature of our student body,” Yu said. “I think students wanted to help, they just needed a plan.”
Medical student E. Gini Ikwuezunma agreed. The students decided to pick Water Missions International, which is a nonprofit charity based in Charleston, because it specializes in water purification technology and disaster relief. Students were motivated to raise money because they knew it would be used for sustainable clean water, which is essential in the treatment of  wounds and in the prevention of water-born diseases, he said.
“When you work together for a cohesive goal, that is what galvanized everyone.”
Then came the hard part—how to raise the money. It was decided that the Global and Tropical Medicine Interest Group of which Yu serves as treasurer and secretary would spearhead the relief efforts. The students decided on two events: a ticket sales event offering drawings for gift certificates for more than 50 items or services donated by area businesses followed by a cocktail affair called “Hearts 4 Haiti Soiree.”
Yu, who also is president of the Medical Student Business Association, said more campus organizations and colleges got involved as the process moved along, including the Medical Student Business Association, the American Medical Women’s Association, the Student National Medical Association, the Student Government Association, the Public Health Interest Group, and various students from the physical therapy, pharmacy, nursing, dental, and physician assistant schools.

Yu said both events were great successes, and he was amazed at the responsiveness of the community and the generosity of businesses.
Danya M. Jordan of WMI, who came to accept the check, said that she was impressed by the enthusiasm of the students. She held up a sample bottle of muddy water that would be typical in the areas they serve. Each Living Water Treatment System can purify 10 gallons of muddy, parasitic water per minute, up to 10,000 gallons per day, which is enough for at least 3,000 people daily. With the MUSC investment and matching funds, more than 1,200 people in Haiti will have years of sustainable safe water, improved health and hygiene training, she said.
For additional information on WMI, visit

Friday, April 9

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