by, Robin Murphey
On October 14, 2017, I spent my day moving together with a group of physical therapists from Baptist Health in Louisville, KY. The Baptist Health family provided a free physical therapy (PT) clinic for Louisville residents. I do not share about the free clinic but how the world can be transformed by one accompanying relationship after another and intentional follow-through on the ‘what if’ thought. Life is not about coincidences but the ripple of love through intentional actions.
Transformational journeys start with relationships. Relationships formed when two or more people truly walk with one another and embrace the others passions, abilities, and struggles as their own. There are four key relationships associated with this journey: Danielle and I, Efosa and I, Efosa and Josh, and Louisville Baptist Health PT Family. Danielle, Efosa, and Josh are all physical therapists across the US. Danielle is a part of the Louisville Baptist Health family and my previous PT. Efosa and I met in Guatemala during coinciding service experiences. Efosa and Josh connected through the physical therapy profession.
Before the ‘what if’, the above relationships were in continuous formation. Danielle and I met in September 2014 as she cared for my knee and foot pains. We shared our passions for making a difference in the world. Both of us had experiences in Guatemala, and I was headed back to Guatemala in December. The New Year’s 2015 Guatemala Trip coordinated with Hearts in Motion (HIM) also included physical therapy students and professionals. Efosa was working with HIM to setup a sustainable PT clinic in Teculutan, Guatemala and on an 8-month global journey “to treat, to teach, to learn, and to grow.” Efosa’s story inspired me and continues to inspire me to take intentional action on my vision. It also led to sharing his story and website PTHaven.com with Danielle when I returned to the US. Over the next several months and now years, I have remained in contact with both Danielle and Efosa sharing the journeys of life.
Josh and Efosa first encountered one another at an American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) conference. A relationship did not form immediately, but Josh seeing something good took intentional action to follow-up with Efosa. The follow-up led to Josh joining Efosa on a trip to Guatemala in 2014 and the formation of an accompanying relationship. The relationship opened the door to ‘what if’ thoughts.
On the Amazon River in Peru in 2015 after Guatemala, Efosa had a ‘what if’ thought and reached out to Josh to see his reaction. He said, “what if, on the same day, clinicians, students, and associated staff of the physical therapy profession volunteered in different communities around the world?” That ‘what if’ led to PT Day of Service (PTDOS) being co-founded by Efosa and Josh and put into action on October 17, 2015. The initial PTDOS brought together individuals and organizations from all 50 states and 28 countries and continues to impact the world today. I continued to share with Danielle about the initiatives and work of Efosa and Josh. In October 2016, Danielle and her colleague, Jessica, gathered their Baptist Health PT family together and provided a free clinic in the Portland area of Louisville for the 2nd Annual PT Day of Service.
This ‘what if’ was only the start of ‘what if’s’ for Efosa and Josh. In 2016, they co-founded Move Together. Move Together is a non-profit organization focused on “increased access to quality rehabilitation medicine around the corner and around the world.” This is accomplished one through international learning experiences. With bidirectional collaboration between the municipality of Villa Nueva, Guatemala and Move Together, the first Clinic Development Project was put into motion to build a sustainable rehab clinic in Villa Nueva, Guatemala in May 2017. As a construction and therapy trip combined, non-clinicians were invited to join in the bidirectional cultural experience, and I did not hesitate to join.
One objective of the project was to help equip the new clinic with equipment, braces, and other supplies. Therefore, I said ‘what if’ I reach out to Danielle to see if she might have some extra things lying around her office to donate. That ‘what if’ resulted in much more than a simple contact to Danielle. She took the inquiry to another level. She reached out to the Baptist Health PT family to see if anyone else had extra supplies around their offices. Her passion for the mission took one additional step sharing the project with her clients and raffling off for one client to be able to put her through a workout in conjunction with celebrating the office’s first anniversary. She helped expand the Move Together family as well as enhance the community within her own clinic towards a common good. A full army duffle bag of supplies and financial support was collected for the Villa Nueva project. The relationship and community building did not stop there. Upon my return from Guatemala, we shared pictures and thanked Danielle, her clients, and fellow PTs for their support in transforming the world.
The next phase of the journey brings us to October 14, 2017 and the 3rd annual PT Day of Service. Danielle and the Baptist Health PT family organized a free PT clinic to provide free education and care in Louisville, Kentucky. Being inspired and encouraged to transcend by Efosa and Josh, I reached out again to Danielle to see how I could provide a helping hand and heart to the clinic. As I checked folks in and documented the day, I saw the hope and smiles of the patients and therapists as pain and mobility issues were being addressed and minimized. Love and compassion transcended as new relationships formed and others continued to grow and transform.
It was a blessing to be part of an amazing initiative to bring people together across the globe (representatives from 55 nations and all 50 US states) on one day to share love and compassion to their neighbor. I enjoyed coming home to see what others around the world had been doing via social media. I really loved seeing and hearing what others like Josh, Efosa, and the May Guatemala Move Together family members were doing. All of these relationships offer a river of ripples for making a positive, healthy difference in the world.
The world is being transformed and you can help in the transformation. All it takes is one ‘what if’, one accompanying relationship, belief, and intentional action. It may seem impossible, but it is only impossible because we take no action and we do not believe in the possible. But when we start believing and trusting, the world is full of possibilities. We just have to open our hearts and minds, believe in ourselves, and take a leap of faith and risk. We have to walk with one another, listening to their story, and embracing their future and ours together. In this bidirectional union of love and compassion, the world will be transformed one ripple of love at a time.
1. Efosa Guobadia, “I Lead by Serving, and I Serve to Lead,” Physical Therapy Haven, November, 29, 2014, http://www.pthaven.com/news_article/show/452034?referrer_id=1047267.
2. Efosa Guobadia, “About PTDOS: PT Day of Service Story,” Global PT Day of Service, accessed September 28, 2017, http://ptdayofservice.com/more-on-ptdos/.
3. “Home,” Move Together, accessed September 28, 2017, https://www.movetogether.org/.