Global outreach: She volunteers to improve pediatric cancer care
BY AMBER SMITH
Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer all over the world.
Whether it’s diagnosed and how it’s treated help determine which children survive. Those in low- and middle-income countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya are four times more likely to die of the disease than children in high-income countries, such as the United States.
Upstate nurse practitioner Brooke Fraser works to improve that disparity.
She spends her vacation time volunteering with a global organization whose mission is to improve pediatric cancer care in developing countries.
“I love it,” she says. “It has made me who I am.”
Fraser, a nurse with 18 years of experience in pediatric hematology/oncology before becoming a nurse practitioner, has always believed in service work.
She was an emergency medical technician, and before she had children she volunteered as a Girl Scout leader. Once her children were older, she wanted to serve abroad. Fraser brought one of her sons, who was 15 at the time, on a trip to help operate a medical clinic in a rural area of El Salvador. That was in 2014.
“That was so life-changing,” she recalls.
Fraser applied in 2015 to become a consultant for the international nonprofit Aslan Project. She spends her vacation time and her own money for meals and ground transportation, but Aslan covers her transportation and lodging. Fraser traveled to different areas of Ethiopia in 2016 and 2017, and to Kenya in 2019.
She describes her role: “I work as a consultant, evaluating the current state of a program, and as a teacher, teaching nurses how to care for children with cancer.”
This article is from the spring 2020 issue of Cancer Care magazine.