Sudan Gala set for August 24th

Dr. Jill Seaman began the South Sudan Medical Relief project. She returns to Bethel every summer. Photo by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

by Kate McWilliams

Bethel, mark your calendars! Next Thursday, August 24th, will be the Annual South Sudan Gala. This event supports the efforts of Bethel physician, Dr. Jill Seaman, who splits her time between YKHC and the Sudan Medical Relief project in the village of Old Fangak, South Sudan.

Dr. Jill Seaman arrived in Bethel in 1980 as the first emergency doctor in the YKHC hospital. She served the Delta region for several years, before pursuing more advanced studies abroad. She then joined Doctors Without Borders on a mission that landed her in southern Sudan in 1989. The country was in the midst of a civil war and the population was badly affected by the disease kala azar, the second deadliest parasite known to man.

Dr. Seaman stayed in South Sudan and started the South Sudan Medical Relief project with another doctor. Every summer she returns to Bethel to work at YKHC.

Her work, from the YK Delta to the Nile River basin impacts thousands of lives each year.

Bethel comes out in support of the Sudan Medical Relief project with the annual South Sudan Gala. Come listen to Dr. Jill Seaman talk about her experiences and enjoy a simple dinner of rice and lentils. There will also be a live and silent auction with an eclectic array of items including fur coats, plane tickets, framed Jim Barker photographs, crafts from local artisans, and many other goods and services up for bidding.

The event will take place Thursday, August 24th at the Moravian Fellowship Hall. Doors open at 5 o’clock. Admission is $20, free for kids under 12. All proceeds from the gala go towards life-saving medicines and supplies for the Sudan Medical Relief clinic.

Volunteers are needed to cook lentils and simple desserts, set up and clean up, and help during the event. To find out how to get involved, call Debbie Fairbanks at 543-4227, Ann Glasheen at 543-6305, Judy Wasierski [email protected] or Kate McWilliams [email protected]