ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida woman is giving up her holiday to help families in need of medical care in the Philippines.
Girlie Garnada, a registered nurse from Port Richie, is joining 3,000 RNs in a sweeping 50-state volunteer effort to help victims of typhoon Haiiyan.
Garnada, a Filipina-American who has lived in the United States the past seven years, still has family members in the Philippines.
She is scheduled to fly from Washington to the Philippines on Saturday.
"I cry for my people. I cannot watch the devastation on television anymore, I have to be there to help," says Garnada, who just last weekend organized a garage sale, along with several coworkers, raising $1,000 that will benefit other families affected by the typhoon.
She also cancelled a 19th anniversary trip to participate in the relief effort.
A member of National Nurses Organizing Committee-Florida, an affiliate of NNU, Garnada says, "This is why I joined the union, to help people in the hospital and in my community."
Garnada and the others departing this week will join with RNRN volunteers who arrived Monday. They are already at work providing basic medical care at rotating mobile clinics in Barangays (districts or neighborhoods) around Roxas City, including in a ruined chapel, a local gym and other sites, in conjunction with local public health officials, physicians, a church and other community supporters.
To date 3,000 RNs from all 50 states and 19 nations have volunteered to assist with the relief project for Haiyan/Yolanda. NNU, which intends to continue sending RNs to the Philippines long after the world's spotlight has faded, is inviting the public to contribute to the effort, at nationalnursesunited.org.
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