Fourth Time's the Charm | Desleigh's Story
“I’m probably one of the people who should do this long term… I love it,” Desleigh tells me at one point during our phone call, which happens on a weekday afternoon for me. The time is slightly different for Desleigh — she’s an RN who has been living in Australia for many years. In September, Desleigh will leave for her fourth Mercy Ships mission. The global reach of the organization is just one reason we’re proud to support nurses like Desleigh to serve on the floating hospital that provides hope and healing to those in need.
Desleigh first heard about Mercy Ships nearly 15 years before serving. “I have four children and was busy working and supporting them. I decided I’d just be a donor — I donated money to the women’s health program and to the agriculture program,” she says. When her children were independent, Desleigh knew that the time had come to volunteer. “I was in the U.S. visiting family,” she remembers. “I got an email and asked me to go to Sierra Leone. I think I had three weeks and then I was on the plane. I had to get vaccinations and everything, but before I knew it I was landing.”
It would be the first of many trips.
“I loved it,” Desleigh says. “I did three months on the first trip, went home, and decided to change my whole work life as a result.” Desleigh decided to pursue travel nursing, working in the outback in rural areas. “I saved up enough money to go for another three months to the Republic of Congo,” she says. “On that trip I rotated around — they put us everywhere, in every operating room. Eventually they put me in eyes and it was incredible. I enjoyed everything but really loved the eyes.” She laughs, “They started calling me the Eye Queen!”
Desleigh’s trips to serve on Mercy Ships didn’t stop with two. Her next trip was to Madagascar, where she got to visit a local hospital alongside a surgeon. “We went for the day and experienced the hardships they experience. It was an amazing experience and we were so grateful. There was so much we wanted to help them with, and we were able to bring them on board to see our operating rooms as well.”
Desleigh doesn’t believe a person is obligated to serve overseas to make a difference, but she does believe she’s been called to serve on Mercy Ships as often as she can. “The people you meet and the skills they bring with them are just amazing,” she says. “Any day you work on the ship you could be working with people from 40 different nations. I like the fact that they provide surgical operations to the needy, to the sick, to anyone who needs help. You just want to help them, you do.”
To read more about the other volunteers traveling with Mercy Ships, head here. At Relode, we donate a percentage of the money we make to support volunteers onboard Mercy Ships. Every time you make a referral or apply for a job, you’re helping to bless those in need. You can read more about our partnership with Mercy Ships here.