It seems like it has taken a lifetime to get where I am at today. This journey began in high school when I first fell in love with medicine. I was blessed enough to make several trips to help others in need and they greatly impacted my life and helped to form who I have become. The trip that changed my life the most was in 2003 to Jamaica where I was given the opportunity to work with doctors and dentists to provide medical care to those in need in the slums of Kingston. I received valuable hands on experience and was also in charge of teaching little children how to floss and brush their teeth. I remember crying myself to sleep the first few nights after the heartbreaking experience of having to turn people away because we could only take so many patients per day.
I can't believe it's been 16 years since that trip! I remember coming back changed and determined to make a difference with this short and beautiful life I was given. After undergrad I decided to not continue on with my education and took a few years off to move around and play. Time passed and I knew I was living a life unfilled and wasn't tapping into my full potential. I was living in Las Vegas, NV and I decided that it was time to do something about it and I decided to move to Portland, OR to attend the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
Leaving perpetual sunshine for a state that has 9 months of rain every year wasn't an easy decision and I couldn't have done it without the continual support of my friends and family. My parents, both having spent a lifetime in conventional Western medicine, have always supported my decision to study a medicine that isn't readily accepted by most of the population as an option, but rather as a last ditch effort. I have felt an important connection to this medicine as my great-grandfather was an immigrant from China to Makena, HI as a stowaway on a merchant ship.
I was first able to work with the creator and founder of the Acupuncture Relief Project, Andrew Schlabach, during the last few months of my first year at OCOM. One quarter later, I was sold. I knew I wanted to learn under him and soak up his passion for taking acupuncture abroad. He has inspired so many of us to push our knowledge to the limits and use the skills was have learned at OCOM. I never imagined that I would be chosen to be apart of his special project. Being able to work with him in his clinic in Nepal for two months will give me hands-on experience I wouldn't be able to get elsewhere.
Andrew Schlabach, LAc (second from left)
I believe in this medicine and it's power to help people heal. I am asking that you help me on this journey. I will be spending 8 weeks in Nepal and your donations will help to purchase medical supplies and support my work. My team will be treating around 120 patients per day and every dollar you donate will be aiding us in doing so. Please donate what you can, every little bit counts. Of course, a lot of bit helps more! ;) The Acupuncture Relief Project is a volunteer-based, 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations go directly to the program and are tax deductible. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Check out AcupunctureReliefProject.org for more information. I also plan on keeping a blog while I'm there so you can follow along with me on my journey!
Mahalo for your Kokua,
Raina Leialohalani Chang
Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world and has been plagued with political unrest and military conflict for the past decade. Since 2008, the Acupuncture Relief Project has provided over 250,000 treatments to patients living in rural villages outside of Kathmandu Nepal. Our efforts include the treatment of patients living with HIV and AIDs as well as people suffering from extreme poverty and social disfranchisement. Common conditions include musculoskeletal pain, digestive pain, hypertension, diabetes, stroke rehabilitation, uterine prolapse, asthma, and recovery from tuberculosis treatment, typhoid fever, and surgery.