Nearly Naked Mile Benefits Interfaith Haitian Medical Mission Trip

November 16, 2010

Xavier University students will shed "nearly all" their clothes and/or dress Haitian-style, despite the chill, Thursday, November 18, at 8:30 p.m., for the Nearly Naked Mile. Participants race one mile through the Xavier campus to raise funds to send 13 pre-professional health students to service in Haiti from January 2-9. Call 513-745-3569 for information. The cost to run is $15. Shirts are $10 each.

The race begins at Bellarmine Circle. Runners race down the residential mall, touch a gate by the intramural fields, come back to pass Husman residence hall and finish back at Bellarmine Circle. Prizes will be awarded for the best costume and for the fastest male and female “Nearly Naked” runners. Given that the average person can run a mile in 10-15 minutes, the students won’t be chilly for long. Their efforts will help warm the hearts of many, however.

On January 12, 2010 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake killed approximately 230,000 people in Haiti and left millions homeless.

Almost 1 year later to the day, from January 2 - 9, thirteen Xavier pre-med students, 2 staff from Xavier’s Office of Interfaith Community Engagement and 4 medical professionals will travel to Haiti under the medical auspices of Heart to Heart International (H2H), a faith-based initiative which has had teams in Haiti since the day after the quake. The Xavier group will live outside Port-au-Prince and commute into the city to H2H’s large primary care facility. Smaller teams will venture into more remote areas during the week. H2H will find lodging, 2 meals a day, translators, security and transportation in Haiti. The medical directors on site are a husband and wife, assisted by some Haitian nurses and other medical professionals.

While all of this is located for the Xavier group, by no means is it free. Rabbi Abie Ingber, the founding director of Xavier’s Office for Interfaith Community Engagement, heads the trip. He estimates the group needs to raise $50,000 to fly, feed and house 19 people for one week. A number of events are planned, including leaf-raking. To help the e Xavier team get to Haiti, your help is appreciated. Tax-deductible donations may be sent to Xavier University, Office of Interfaith Community Engagement, 3800 Victory Parkway ML 2120, Cincinnati, OH 45207 with checks payable to Xavier University IFCE. Please call 513-745-3569 with questions.

Last January, Ingber spearheaded a highly successful interfaith medical mission trip to Jamaica for a similar group of pre-med students and medical professionals. In 4.5 days, the group saw 511 patients. The group spent only two hours on a beach – most long days were spent among old slave huts in remote regions of Jamaica, seeing people who had never received medical care. Six had to be evacuated to a hospital for immediate attention.

For one of the physicians on the trip, it will be an emotional visit. Pediatrician Dr. Lauri Pramuk and her husband, Chris, an assistant professor of theology at Xavier, were in the process of adopting two children from Haiti when the quake struck. After days of fearing the worst, the Pramuks learned they had survived. The entire Xavier community pulled together to bring the children out of the horror to their new family. Lauri Pramuk will travel with the students in January.

“If last year our students went nearly naked to help the people of Jamaica, imagine what they will be wearing to help those devastated in Haiti!” said Ingber. “I am so very proud of how this annual mega-silliness brings so much good to people in need through the work of our interfaith medical community intent on healing the world.”