Leah Beekman is my cousin and one of the most compassionate people I have ever met. Her life is dedicated to helping others, and she loves making a difference. Leah took two trips to Kenya through her nursing program in college (one as a senior in college, and the next was two years later as an alumni mentor) specifically to educate young girls there about their health and their transition into being women. She spent time taking care of these little girls, educating them about themselves, and getting them into schools where they can learn. The nurses that Leah traveled with teamed up with community members in Kenya to provide basic sanitary supplies for girls in the rural parts of Kenya who were struggling to understand and manage each of their menstrual cycles. Throughout the duration of the trip, her team and her had managed to gather over 1,000 pairs of panties and nearly 3,000 sanitary pads. Her visits to Africa had a huge impact on the girls she worked with and even on her own life. She couldn’t believe how welcoming and generous the people were in Africa even though they had hardly anything to give. Leah told me that her trips have opened up her eyes to a whole new world, and from them she is a better nurse, a better person, and she now has a new perspective on life that many of us do not have the opportunity to experience. While some might guess that the hardest part about traveling to rural Africa is not having their cell phone work or not having fast food to eat, Leah said this, “The only hard part is leaving, and not being able to watch them grow into strong, beautiful women who make an impact in their community.” She had developed a close relationship with the girls in Kenya like the one in the picture, and if she could, she would go back in a heartbeat (she plans to when she is completely finished with her schooling).
Not only does Leah commit herself to spending large periods of time far away to lend a helping hand, but as a Registered Nurse in the ICU at the Fargo VA Hospital, she spends each and every day caring for Veterans and their families. She grows close to her patients and always has a story to pass on because as she puts it, her job is a history lesson every day. Along with her bedside responsibilities, she also spends time with the new graduate nurses to aid them in their transition to being professional nurses. Leah loves her job because she gets to go home everyday and know that she helped someone in some way which she says is very rewarding.
I look up to Leah and strive to be as intelligent, kind hearted, and compassionate as her when I am her age. She is truly the definition of a role model and has inspired me to Pass It On.
Submitted by Anonymous
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