Jamen Rose Garcia

Six years ago, I began my journey with Unite For Sight as a twenty-one-year-old UCLA undergraduate by participating in the Global Health Impact Volunteer Program in Tamale, Ghana. Who knew that what would happen in those three weeks with Dr. Seth Wanye, the only ophthalmologist in the North, where he services over 2 million people, would lead me right back to Unite For Sight today as a Program Manager? Every decision I have made since returning from Ghana in 2011 was a direct result of in the lessons I learned while volunteering with Unite For Sight. Decisions that included going back to Ghana with Unite For Sight again after graduation, but this time for almost a year, to pursuing my Masters in Global Health at UCSF.

Collectively, I have seen Dr. Wanye perform hundreds upon hundreds of surgeries and as each on went by I too became one of Dr. Wanye’s patients. Although my sight-restoring surgery was not literal, there is no doubt my vision in life was completely changed by witnessing first-hand what it looks like to wholly dedicate your life in service to others.

His dedication coupled with his humility and passion despite the many trials and barriers that both he and his patients faced were a life changing blend that inspired me to pursue a life that modeled those traits as well.

It is not lost on me the enormous privilege it was for me to be privy to such a profound moment as when someone regains sight after years of blindness or the enormous tragedy it is to observe the barriers that inhibit so many from receiving the care they so deserve and to have had the opportunity to be changed and shaped by those moments. I know now that I would have never understood those lessons had I not humbly heard and seen them first hand from the communities themselves for which Unite For Sight partners with.

I am forever grateful for the ways in which the Unite For Sight family has nurtured my passions from my time as an undergrad to now as proud member of the team. Knowing that I have the opportunity to continue in the fight to end preventable blindness as well as partake in Unite For Sight’s collective vision for global health that prides itself on efficiency, sustainability and an ethical responsibility to serve others is truly a great honor.