| Nov 20, 2017
Becky (middle) and her children Brooke, 16, and Cole, 13, stand beside the pallet of medical equipment they brought nearly 1,000 miles to Medical Teams International’s distribution center.
For nearly 1,000 miles, Becky Allen drove her family’s gold Honda Odyssey up Interstate 5 from Orange County, California. Her destination was Medical Teams International in Portland, an organization she’d only recently heard about, whose address she didn’t even know.
She simply pointed her van north and drove – for 16 bleary-eyed hours. Becky was on a mission for her husband. She had medical supplies to deliver.
In August, her husband Robert passed away after a 10-year battle with cancer. Robert lived at home throughout his illness, even during the grueling last two years when he was hooked up to a respirator. By the end, the family’s living room looked like a hospital, with feeding tubes and wheelchairs, respirators and gauze scattered about.
Becky wanted the equipment to go to good use. After all, it was part of Robert’s legacy and had improved his quality of life. But none of the local charities in Southern California would take it, Becky said. That’s when she discovered Medical Teams International. While perusing a list of nonprofits that accepted medical supplies and equipment, she landed on the Medical Teams website.
“And I fell in love with the organization,” she said.
Becky (center) flanked by her children Cole, 13, and Brooke, 16, and service dog Angel. After Becky’s husband Robert died, she decided to donate all the medical supplies to medical Teams International, driving nearly 1,000 miles to do so.
After a brief phone call to Medical Teams’ distribution center, where staff confirmed they would take the equipment, she planned the trip. She’d travel up to Portland, then head over to the Oregon Coast.
“We’ve been wanting to see the Oregon Coast for a long time, me and my husband,” Becky said. “My kids said this was something they wanted to do.”
On Nov. 4, she packed the minivan with the equipment, her two children – Cole, 13, and Brooke, 16 – and Robert’s service dog, Angel. The journey’s end came on Nov. 7, when Becky and her kids dropped off the pallet of supplies at Medical Teams’ warehouse.
It was a bittersweet moment. She was giving up important pieces of Robert’s life.
“For me, the hardest part was leaving the pallet behind,” Becky said, choking back tears. “It’s like this was the end of his medical journey.”
Once the supplies were in the warehouse, staff and volunteers sorted them into bins. They will become parts of larger shipments. Medical Teams International ships medical supplies to 27 countries, serving 2.9 million people. Donations ensure that people around the world have access to life-saving care.
“The equipment and supplies go to people who need them, instead of ending up in the trash,” said Tanya Eckroth, Medical Teams’ distribution center manager.
For Becky, the entire trip, and the donation, was in Robert’s honor. In Medical Teams’ guestbook, beside her own name, she wrote “Robert.”
Because he was there in spirit. And with this gift, his legacy will live on.
Learn more about our medical health products program, which serves nearly 3 million people. Or consider making a financial donation to improve the lives of vulnerable people around the world.