PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Lindsay Seekircher’s wish to provide medical support extends beyond her work as a physician assistant at Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor. Way beyond.
Seekircher, a 30-year-old resident of Peekskill and a member of Fortress Bible Church in Tarrytown, has traveled twice to Peru and once to Tanzania and Belize. She returned in March from Belize, where she had set up a mobile healthcare clinic and visited rural areas to distribute medications and provide education services for natives.
“When I was a teenager, my parents sent me on a mission trip to Haiti with a group from the church where my father was the pastor,’’ Seekircher said. “Going as a teenager gave me a sense of how important it is. To provide something for these people who have very little is a wonderful thing. You see how blessed we are in this county. You see the appreciation. You give a kid a piece of gum there, and it’s like giving a PlayStation to a kid here.”
Seekircher first traveled to Peru in 2006, and she returned again in 2009. During both visits she set up clinics in remote areas, distributed antibiotics and vitamins, and provided free health care and screenings. The trip was organized by a group based in Peru with traveling parties that ranged from 8-20 people.
In 2012 she traveled to Tanzania and Belize and stayed with natives in the regions she visited. Her trips ranged from 1-2 ½ weeks, and co-workers donated supplies which she carried in a backpack. Seekircher and another physician assistant, Rosanna Relyea of Wappingers Falls, made the trips to Tanzania and Belize.
“I enjoy seeing the appreciation of the people,’’ Seekircher said. “Whether I live in the United States and make x amount and have a house, or I live in a hut with 13 family members, we’re all people. They’re talking about life events too, just like we do. You feel like you can relate to them. They’re so grateful for everything you give them. You give them a bottle of Tylenol, it’s a big thing.”
Seekircher and her father, Philip, arranged travel logistics for her recent trips. “When we get to the airline counter, we’re praying that it all works out,’’ she said. “So far, we’ve never had to leave anything behind,’’ she said.
Seekircher stuffs backpacks with pens, bandages, medicines, antibiotics, blood pressure screening kits, lotions, powders and creams. Her work and church communities have been strong supporters. “As soon as people hear that I’m going, they’ll ask, ‘What can I do for you? What do you need?’ Everyone is great about making donations,’’ Seekircher said.
Seekircher does not feel her missions of mercy are anything special. The reward she gets is the feeling in her heart when she has helped relieve pain for a person who likely has known deep pain.
“It’s something I have the desire to do,’’ Seekircher said. “I don’t think I’m special, I think the opportunity is special. I’m grateful to be a part of it.”