Encore July 2015

Page 18

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Therapeutic Mission

Daughter inspires organization to help Jamaica’s poor J. Gabriel ware



designed to provide sustainable, rehabilitative therapies for poor people in Jamaica. Doherty, who is vice president for the Midwest region of medical consulting firm Med-Vision, travels from Kalamazoo to Jamaica once a year, meeting and helping people like Humphrey. While he’s proud of making a difference, Doherty is more proud of his daughter Brooke, who inspired him to make that difference. In 2010, Brooke, then a freshman at Grand Valley State University, went on a spring break mission trip to Jamaica to help with construction and farming projects at Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf’s Knockpatrick campus, which is a boarding school for deaf children in Mandeville. She discovered firsthand the great need for medical resources in Jamaica. She returned home for the summer and positioned herself for a summer job as a lifeguard, but first she needed surgery to correct a heart defect. Something went amiss during the operation and she didn’t receive enough oxygen, leaving the 18-year-old in a coma and with significant brain damage. Brooke spent the next several months in recovery, spending six hours a day for two months in occupational therapy, relearning how to walk, talk and eat. But even during her struggles, the lack of resources in Jamaica still bothered her. “She said, ‘Dad, I want to do something for the Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf, so let’s go collect bottles and cans door-to-door,’” Doherty recalls. Doherty and his church’s youth group collected about $2,000 worth of bottles and cans in one year to be donated to the Caribbean


n 2012, Scott Doherty made his first trip to Jamaica, taking his family and church’s youth group on a mission trip. There they visited Manchester Infirmary — a care facility for those with disabilities in Mandeville, where Doherty met a bedridden, ailing man named Humphrey. “He had a stroke and been in his bed for eight years, just waiting to die,” Doherty says. “He told me, ‘All I have is my faith, and I’m waiting for my savior to come and meet me.’” Before he left Humphrey’s bedside, Doherty slipped a green wristband onto the man’s hand. Engraved on it were the name of Doherty’s daughter Brooke and two Bible verses: Psalms 73:26 and Philippians 4:13. Doherty departed back to Kalamazoo knowing he would return. Back in the U.S., Doherty became a cofounder and organizing director at Jamaica Rehab Partners — a nonprofit organization

18 | Encore JULY 2015

Top left: A team of students and professionals provide physical therapy for clients in Jamaica. Above, Humphrey before his recovery. Opposite page: Brooke Doherty holds a small child in Jamaica.