Why do some of us accept risks to help others? What compels us to lend a helping hand? In August 2014 when the West African Ebola epidemic was spinning out of control, Dr. Bruce Reeder wrestled with whether to join the fight against the disease. He reasoned with his wife, Sheila: “If not me, who? If not now, when? I had the skills and they were needed. I went to Liberia with Médecins Sans Frontières.”
At age 22, halfway through medical school, Reeder volunteered for a summer at a clinic in the poorest part of town in Kingston, Jamaica, setting his trajectory toward the field of global health and humanitarianism. Reeder has 45 years of experience in Canada and abroad, at times in volatile and unsafe situations.
Among his many accomplishments Reeder has front line experience working with Doctors Without Borders in Liberia on the Ebola front, in Kyrgyzstan on the control of drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV and AIDS, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic on the establishment of surveillance and response systems for epidemic diseases.
On Wednesday, Sept. 11, Reeder will give a thought-provoking presentation in Nelson on the meaning of social responsibility, accountability and humanitarianism. It will be held at the United Church at 602 Silica St. at 4 p.m.
Admission is by donation, which will be split between Doctors Without Borders and the Grandmothers Campaign, an initiative of the Stephen Lewis Foundation that supports African grandmothers raising their grandchildren orphaned by the AIDS pandemic.