“I will never ever forget how I felt the morning of our first day in Sapa. To watch a group of people who had travelled so far to develop and bring to life our idea is probably the most rewarding amazing feeling I have ever felt.”
The concept for LearnToLive was born on a film-set in Southeastern Louisiana. I was surrounded by a mixed crowd of Hollywood types and found myself overwhelmed by their cynical attitudes and wasteful lifestyle. I could no longer reconcile a life working simply for a paycheck; I knew there was more to life. I recognized the need for a change in my career and my lifestyle.
This is when I began to think about how I could use my skills as a registered nurse to not only help people but also inspire them to be better.To further solidify my own aspirations, I looked to my family. My father and his family are from North Sulawesi, Indonesia. I often visited this region during my childhood and recognized from an early age the stark difference between their living conditions and the ones I had growing up in Australia. This area is characterized by rampant poverty, limited healthcare and virtually no form of sustainable clean water or sanitation. I’ve seen young men and women die from easily preventable or treatable conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stomach ulcers. Moreover, I’ve seen others live their lives with untreated conditions without knowledge of small behavior changes that could help sustain a healthy lifestyle. My childhood trips to North Sulawesi along with my desire for a more fulfilling career lead me to my calling. With the help of a friend and colleague, Jordan Kaban, I envisioned the idea for LearnToLive.
After many brainstorming sessions and several trips to North Sulawesi, my dream began to develop. Over the course of two years, LearnToLive acquired a board of trustees, appointed a dedicated group of seven core members, secured funding, applied for non-profit status and took its inaugural trip to Indonesia. What once began as an idea began suddenly transformed into an organization with like-minded yet diverse individuals all with the desire to improve the health and wellbeing of residents in North Sulawesi and soon the world. I will never ever forget how I felt the morning of our first day in Sapa. To watch a group of people who had travelled so far to develop and bring to life my idea is probably the most rewarding amazing feeling I have ever felt. The first patient sat down with one of LTL’s clinicians and so began what once was an idea on a film set and was now to be a way of life.
The people who made LTL Indo 2012 were the foundations and walls of this program. I am so thankful to have them standing next to me. I know we are all going to change the world and it feels really good.