A Chilcotin nurse practitioner is back in the public eye, this time for a Canadian Red Cross awareness campaign.
Patrice Gordon made headlines after she volunteered with the Canadian Red Cross during the Ebola outbreak in Africa two winters ago, and again last summer when she went to Nepal after the earthquake.
Gordon is one of 10 Canadians being featured in a project titled Faces of Humanity with images that will be displayed on posters and billboards across Canada.
On March 4, Gordon attended an unveiling of the project at Lansdowne Centre in Vancouver and returned to the Cariboo Chilcotin later that day feeling very honoured.
She told the Tribune the purpose of the campaign is to bring attention to what’s going on in the Canadian Red Cross.
“The Red Cross consists of individuals who have lives, families and pets at home, jobs and all that, but have some kind of skill and desire to go use that skill,” she said.
Even though humanitarian workers are medical practitioners or technicians, the thing that makes them valuable is being able to be “human,” she added.
“It’s that giving of yourself and your humanness, showing your compassion and your caring with the people who are in need so they see that the world is watching and is aware of what they are going through.”
Often humanitarian workers go into situations that can be dangerous and there can be a huge emotional price to pay when working with people who are suffering.
“There are no magic wands to wave that will make things instantly better,” she added.
When asked why she thinks people do humanitarian work, Gordon said because in the midst of seeing all the suffering and difficulty and hardship that people are undergoing, you also see the best of people.
“It’s a real honour to work alongside those people and to just get that richness in your spirit of having so much amazing goodness around you. I’ve said it a million times that when I go away on a mission and I come back it always changes me in a good way to be a better person.”
During the launch in Vancouver, Gordon met people from Nepal and West Africa who came up and thanked her for helping their people.
After she spoke at the launch, a dancer from the Ivory Coast grabbed Gordon to dance on the stage with two Nepalese dancers.
“We were up there dancing and laughing our heads off. It was so fun and the crowd was completely engaged. It was wonderful.”
Gordon also said it was “incredibly shocking” to see posters of herself on display that were larger than life, and have perfect strangers come up and want a photo taken with her and the posters.
The posters say Gordon’s from Rossland where she was living up until a few years ago when she moved permanently to the Chilcotin to live with her partner, Dr. Rob Coetzee.