Medical Volunteer – Roslyn Rivera

I knew as a child that I wanted to become a nurse and my passion for pediatric cardiac care is rooted in my own personal story. I was born with congenital heart defects and have undergone two open heart surgeries as a child. Little did I know that this dream would lead me to a career in which I would care for children in developing countries around the world.

In 2012, I began volunteering as a nurse on medical mission trips. On my first trip, I was amazed by the resilience of children, their strength to survive. Working alongside other medical volunteers from many different countries, I witnessed a selfless compassion to help dissolve the abundant need for quality cardiac care for children worldwide.

Sometimes I share my heart story with my patients and their parents. If I don’t speak the language, I simply show them my scar in an attempt to convey the message that my scar is proof I survived. Sharing my story calms their anxiety and gives them a hope that their child can grow up to be a healthy adult.

From my travels to countries such as Ukraine, Iraq, and Libya, where I don’t speak the language, I learned that the expression of joy and gratitude on a mother’s face as she sees her child given a new chance at life is undeniably universal.