The MEDLIFE chapter at University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras did an incredible job of fundraising $4,847 for the MEDLIFE project fund. This donation allowed us to finish 5 of our six remaining projects; a prosthetic leg for Roman, a home for Soledad, a staircase for Pompinchu, empower Union Santa Fe, a sandwhich cart for Tatiana and Camila. Ontop of all of this they also managed to put $1000 towards the Urucancha community intern project. Thank you and congratulations to the UPR Rio Piedras MEDLIFE chapter for your outstanding work. 

Tell us about your chapter, how many members do you have, how did you create it, what is your history?

 We have 409 members organized and dedicated to working and giving their best to the needs of communities. MEDLIFE UPR-RP was created in the year 2012 and since then we have demonstrated that the unity of our members is the secret to achieving success in all of our activities.

Why did you decide to start the fundraiser? How did you get the idea and motivation to do it?

 During the last semester, we successfully raised the funds for Santusa's house together with other chapters in Puerto Rico, and MEDLIFE Cayey. But we wanted to impact and reach more people. Our President Alessandra Torres, was revising projects pending in the website this semester and saw that 6 projects still needed to reach their fundraising targets.  Later, we had a meeting where we decided that we would help complete 5 of the projects and give the rest to the one remaining. To contribute to these projects was more than just giving a donation, it meant the commitment and dedication of all of our members to help patients in need; it meant hope, happiness and love from each one of them.


What activities did you do to raise the money?

During this second semester we held a variety of activities to raise money such as: selling pizza, bake sales, events in restaurants, and a raffle.

What obstacles did you encounter and how did you overcome them?

 Actually, the economic situation in our country is not the best, so raising the money took a lot of strength, work and determination. Nevertheless, when we did a strong promotional campaign for each activity we were able to draw the attention of many members, friends and family members who helped complete our goal.

How do you feel knowing that 5 projects have been completed because of your support?

 Honestly, it is something we still cannot believe. We never imagined that our fundraisers would be so successful that we would be able to support all of the projects. We feel extremely grateful for all of the members who were present in each activity and for all of the other people that in some way offered their help and support. The success is not ours alone; it is a success for MEDLIFE.

What are your futures goals, what plans do you have as a chapter?

 In terms of future plans, we would like to continue to give back to projects that are the pillars of our organization: medicine, education and development. We would also like to have our chapter represented in Mobile Clinics, be it in Peru, Ecuador or Nicaragua. 

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Maximilieno Cedeno did a 50:50 campaign to raise money for his 2016 trip to Esmereldas, Ecuador. Here is what he had to say about running a fundraiser and about his Mobile Clinic trip to Ecuador.

How did you hear about a 50:50 campaign?

I heard about a 50:50 campaign from my chapter and from a previous trip. It is a good way to raise funds for MEDLIFE and also help with the cost of the trip.

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Why did you decide to do a 50:50 campaign?

I decided to come on a MEDLIFE trip because it's a great chance to help others in another country that have low incomes. Also you get to see another side of the world that back in the United States you are not able to see.

How long did it take you to raise the money?

It took me around 2 months to raise the money. I blasted in social media and asked my dad and some friends to pass it around.

What was the main obstacle you encountered?

The main obstacle was myself, I don't like to ask for money. That was an obstacle, getting over asking for money. But the money was going to a good cause, so that helped me get through it.

What did you learn from doing a fundraising campaign?

I learned first of all that it is not hard. You have to put some time into it but once it gets started it's going to go on it's own basically. The first big step is just to get the word out, and letting people know you are fundraising for a good cause.  Basically keep track of how much each person is giving you so you can send them a thank you card. It's actually my second fundraising campaign, because it is my second MEDLIFE trip.

So this is your second 50:50 campaign?

Yes this is my second campaign. The first one I raised less than this one. I learned from the mistakes I made that time and I was able to raise more this year.

What did you do to raise more this time?

I let more people know this time. I also showed them personal experiences that I had before with MEDLIFE. 

What did you learn on your trip?

One of the things that struck me the most is how people are able to survive on such a minimal amount of income. How they are able on a day to day basis with so little resources that they have. One of the great things that MEDLIFE does is follow up with the patients and make sure that they get the right treatment, that money does not go to waste.

How do you feel about the impact you made on the communities with the money you raised?

It feels really good knowing you are helping others that actually need it and really appreciate it. When we leave at the end of each day the people are really thankful that we did a mobile clinic in their community , and that makes you feel really good about it. 


Congratulations to Michelle Millions from McGill University, who raised $412 in her 50:50 campaign. This is what she had to say about her trip to Esmereldas Ecuador and about running a successful fundraising campaign.

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What made you decide to do a 50:50 Campaign?

Well, originally I was with other organizations at my University, but I didn't agree with the full scope and the full mission statement that they had. So, this summer I spent a lot of time researching different NGO's and things I wanted to be a part of and I found out about MEDLIFE through that. I really really believed in their mission statement and what they were doing which made me really want to come on a trip and see first hand how they were impacting communities. I decided to do a 50:50, because it's one thing for me to come and help, and it's another thing for me to come and bring resources and for the community that I am helping.

Can you tell me more specifically what about the MEDLIFE mission was more in line with your values?

I really really appreciate the idea of local doctors, and people staying here for an extended period of time, like the interns for example, who are trying to make a lasting impact on the community. There are so many NGOS where they will bring in an American doctor who isn't really well versed in the area, leave them for a week, and take them out, and that's great, but that isn't sustainable for the community. What I believe that MEDLIFE does is really allow a community to stand on it's own and contribute to the help that they are receiving.

What strategies did you use to be successful in your 50:50 campaign?

I had a blurb I had written both about MEDLIFE itself and what I believed I would be doing on the trip and I shared it through facebook and a lot through emails, to coworkers of parents or people I knew who had gone on other trips or who I knew were into sponsoring  things. So, it was mostly through sharing of emails.

What did you learn through running a fundraising campaign?

I learned the most important thing was to make it relevant to people. Like it's one thing to say I want to go on a trip I want to help some people can you help me do that? It's another to send them links to the information. Here are the problems going on in the area I will be going to, here are the communities you will be impacting, really show them what it is their money is going to do. I also sent them all follow up emails saying I would send them information from this trip about how it went so they would really know how they were making a difference, so it wouldn't just be an abstract concept. I sent them pictures and updates, descriptions of how I felt about the communities so they would know where their money was going and to make it relevant to them so they would want to continue supporting MEDLIFE, and not just me.

How do you feel about the impact you made on the communities with the money you raised?

This last week- it's been really great. There are very few ways an NGO can grow without people doing fundraising. You see all the medications we gave out, I worked in pharmacy a couple of days. There is no way we could have done that without people fundraising. It's really nice to see where people's money is going and have it be part of an organization that I believe in so much. 

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March 3, 2016 2:53 pm


Written by Rosali Vela

Spring Mobile Clinics have just started and several students have been fundraising through the 50:50 campaign. This is one of the students who was working in the clinic. Her name is Tia Wilson and she is from Queens University. She had a successful campaign that enabled her to make her trip to Lima! For more information about the 50:50 campaign click here: 50:50 Campaign

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How did you hear about the 50:50 Campaign? I found out about the 50:50 campaigns during a couple meetings and they let us know about it.

Why did you decided to do a 50:50 Campaign? Because it help out a lot to MEDLIFE itself and it help me out to financially with paying for the trip. And with school and everything was a little expensive and that help out a lot but it also help out MEDLIFE for supplies and stuffs.

How long was your campaign? When I found i was going to Peru about October, i started letting people know about what i was going to experience going out with MEDLIFE and a lot people ask "how can i help" and I let them know about the 5050 campaign and that how it kinda arose. I raised about 1500 for each so about 750 for each.

What did you do the be successful with your 50:50 campaign? Just letting people know what I was going to do, spreading the message social media, family, friends, work, etc.

Did you encounter any obstacles during the process and how did you overcome them? I did not encounter any obstacles but if I had it depends on what it would be. If I would have diffuculties triying to get people to donate i would ask for some help involving friends and family.

How was organizing a positive experience and what did you learn from it? I learned that a lot of people are interested in helping if you let them know what you are doing and educate them about MEDLIFE, and they stand for, they values and goals, and try to make connections with them.

How do you feel about the impact that you made by raising the money for the people that you worked with this week? I feel really good. It is rewarding and a really humbling experience. I definitely want to donate more and come back for sure for next Spring break to Lima and spend my time volunteer here in the clinics. I think is wonderful impact that MEDLFIE has made in communities and is  good feeling to be part of it.

What advice you have for students organizing their own 50:50 campaign? A soon as you know you are coming, just spread the word out like friends, family, people at work, friends of friends, etc. A lot of people will ask you questions because they wont donate unless they dont know about it. So that is really important, to let everyone know, give them an inside of what MEDLIFE does and how much of an impact does make now.

January 22, 2016 3:12 pm

Intern Journal: William Arce

Written by William Arce

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Mi experiencia con MEDLIFE en Lima, Perú comenzó aproximadamente tres meses atrás. Jamás imaginé que llegaría a estar donde me encuentro hoy, entusiasmado y con infinitas ganas de seguir trabajando por las personas que verdaderamente lo necesitan. Esta oportunidad me ha brindado muchas herramientas que me han permitido modificar mi perspectiva hacia la vida.

Recuerdo mi primera vez en el campo. Era una tarde soleada, donde el verano no había comenzado oficialmente y aún quedaba un poco del frio desértico. Desde el principio me mantuve con una perspectiva de ser objetivo ante las posibilidades que allí me podía enfrentar. Una vez que llegamos al lugar y presencié lo que allí había, no pude dejar de pensar en las veces que fui poco agradecido. Conocí a muchas familias, escuché sus historias, les brindé mi tiempo, y por un momento me olvidé de todo. Fue ahí, en ese momento, donde me dije a mi mismo que jamás volvería a ser igual.

 Desde entonces comencé a visitar pacientes para conocer sus historias y necesidades, como también entrevisté a algunos para investigar a fondo la raíz de la problemática social que nos encontramos al visitar muchas comunidades. Por otra parte tuve la dicha de viajar a Cusco, Perú y a Riobamba, Ecuador, donde también trabajé con voluntarios de diferentes países, llevando así servicios gratuitos de medicina y dental, así como talleres de educación a las comunidades que tienen menos acceso a la ciudad. De igual forma aportamos con la construcción de guarderías para niños, escaleras y baterías sanitarias.

Dentro de todas esas oportunidades que se me presentaron, siempre recuerdo una visita que hicimos a una paciente, Ida Lampas. En la visita estuve por dos horas consecutivas hablando con la paciente acerca de sus condiciones y las cosas que le habían sucedido. Pero eso no fue todo, a mitad de conversación comenzó a mencionar las cosas positivas que sobrepasaban todo lo negativo que había pasado. Entendí que no son las cosas que pasamos sino con la actitud con que las afrontamos. No les puedo explicar con palabras la emoción que sentí al escuchar su historia y ver que de alguna manera el simple hecho de haberla escuchado era suficiente para ella.

Estar en otro país, lejos de tus costumbres y tu familia siempre es difícil, pero cuando te das cuenta de todo el cambio que has logrado solo puedes pensar en lo feliz que te sientes de haber logrado tu meta. Es por ello que me siento extremadamente agradecido de la oportunidad que MEDLIFE me ha dado para poder aportar a esta causa. A veces las personas no entienden porque hacemos este tipo de labor, pero la realidad es que forma parte de nuestro llamado. Tenemos que ayudar a las personas sin mirar su raza, su color, su partido político o situación económica. Todos tenemos la oportunidad de impactar vidas, ya sea en nuestros hogares, a nuestros vecinos, en comunidades locales, en el trabajo o en cualquier lugar. Soy un fiel creyente de que tenemos que vivir para servir. 

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My experience with MEDLIFE in Lima, Peru, began about three months ago. I never imagined I would be where I am today, excited and with an endless desire to continue working for people who truly need it. This opportunity has given me many tools that have allowed me to change my outlook towards life.

I remember my first time in the field. It was a sunny afternoon, summer had not yet officially begun and there was still a little bit of the desert cold. When I first came to Lima I tried to keep an open mind about what I would find there. Once we got to the Pueblos Jovenes and witnessed what was there, I could not stop thinking about the times I was thankless. I met many families, I heard their stories, I offered them my time, and for a moment I forgot everything. It was there, at that point where I said to myself, I will never be the same.

Since then I started visiting patients to learn their stories and needs. I interviewed them and tried to thoroughly investigate the root of the social problems we found while visiting many communities. Moreover I had the good fortune to travel to Cusco, Peru and Riobamba, Ecuador, where I also worked with volunteers from different countries, bringing free medical and dental services, and educational workshops to communities that have less access to the city . Likewise we contribute to building nurseries, staircases and hygiene projects.

Among those opportunities that came my way, I will always remember a visit we made to a patient, Ida Lampas. During the visit I talked with the patient for two hours about her condition and the things that had happened to her. But that was not all, she started to mention the positive things that surpassed anything negative that happened to her. I understood that it is not about the things that happen to us but the attitude with which we face them. I can not explain in words the emotion I felt when I heard her story and saw that somehow the simple fact of having heard her was enough for her.

Being in another country far from your habits and your family is always difficult, but when you realize everything you've accomplished you can only think about how happy you feel having achieved your goal. That is why I am extremely grateful for the opportunity MEDLIFE gave me to contribute to this cause. Sometimes people do not understand why we do this kind of work, but the reality is that is part of our calling. We have to help people without regard for race, color, political party or economic status. We all have the opportunity to impact lives, whether in our homes, to our neighbors, local communities, at work or anywhere. I am a firm believer that we must live to serve.

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