The Bike Doctors Project: Pedal it Forward
Ezra Valida is a doctor. He wakes up early and starts putting the essentials in his already crammed doctor’s kit. His empty makeshift doctor’s office is devoid of patients who need his services. So Dr. Ezra gets his heavy doctor’s bag, and starts walking to where the patients are, in the next barangay— around 7 km away.
This is the story of many professional doctors who choose to serve in the small towns and barrios that city people like us seldom hear about. There are a lot of challenges that face them, like having enough medicines, supplies and tools in order to properly treat the patients. They make do with what they have, and sometimes they receive help from various government bodies and health organizations.
As you can imagine, the long distances and arduous traveling take its toll on these doctors’ bodies. While they give their lives to improve the quality of living for many people in their area, they themselves need help so they won’t compromise their own health in the process.
Emmanuel Batungbacal or Coach Manny as he is fondly called, from Primer Group of Companies’ CORE (Center for Outdoor Recreation and Expedition- a group specifically tasked to spearhead and carry out many outreach and local tourism initiatives, and expeditions in our country), met with some of these doctors during one of his rescue missions in the recent typhoons (typhoon Yolanda). He saw the opportunity to help these doctors through a bike program. Hence, the Bike Doctors Project was developed. This project is still in its infancy stage but it is already gaining a lot of support from different communities, both here and abroad.
The Bike Doctors Program aims to provide the doctors in the devastated areas in our countries with a functional bicycle that will make the travelling from barrio to barrio easier and faster for them. Consequently, they will become more efficient treating more people in less time, all the while keeping fit and conserving energy.
The bikes are fully outfitted with a custom designed bag that will hold the equipment and medicines of these travelling doctors. Brands like Mongoose and Columbia Sportswear Philippines are also supporting the Bike Doctors. Aside from the bicycles, the doctors are also outfitted with jackets and helmets that will protect them from the environment.
To date, there are already 8 brand new bikes that have been donated to this project by various groups and individuals. 3 of these bikes are already in Samar, and the other 5 will be shipped to Tacloban within the next few weeks. The CORE group is working towards having 100 bikes released by end of the year throughout the whole country. The more bikes they are able to donate, the more doctors they will be able to help, and the more doctors they help, the more people in these barangays will benefit from free medical assistance.
Heroes are not always the big name people that are sculpted and bronzed and set up in parks. Sometimes they are the lone doctor trekking to the next barangay in the heat of the day or in the torrential rain so that he can save even one person’s life. A bicycle may be a small thing to some of us, but for that doctor, it will mean not having to walk several kilometres in questionable weather and unsafe surroundings. Let us do what we can to help these unsung heroes and be part of the change we want to see in our nation.
If you want to be part of this project, you can contact Coach Manny Batungbacal through Emmanuel.firstname.lastname@example.org or visit FB Core Asia Primergroup for more details.