KGUN 9 On Your SideNewsLocal News


Nurses spend Easter weekend helping migrants at Benedictine Monastery

Posted at 9:58 PM, Apr 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-22 02:54:21-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Traveling the world and volunteering to help hundreds of patients sounds difficult, but for Michelle Santizo, she's thankful to get to do it.

She's one of three nurses with the Registered Nurse Response Network and Nurses United, who traveled to Tucson this weekend to help migrants at the Benedictine Monastery for Easter. Registered Nurse Response Network is a disaster relief organization from California that travels the world to provide medical care to those in need.

Going from country to country is normal for nurses like Michelle Santizo. Recently, she was in Guatemala to help migrants at a shelter. Being there and seeing what migrants have to go through in their home country, resonated with her, she said.

"They leave their country in hope for a better future, so they can work hard, provide for their family and hopefully come back to their country," Santizo said.

Santizo's father is from Guatemala, and mother is from El Salvador.

"My parents came into the country with nothing," Santizo said. "I can only imagine a very young person coming to this country, traveling for days, not knowing where you're going, it can be traumatizing."

Both of her parents migrated into the United States through shelters, similar to the Benedictine Monastery. Santizo said being their reminds her of her parents.

"They've inspired me to continue to give back and give other people an opportunity to thrive and to have a fighting chance at life," Santizo said.

Most migrants don't want to leave their home countries, she said, but have to because of poverty and dangerous situations.

"You hear these stories that people are standing out in the sun, in a cage or with no place to go," Another nurse with RNRN Erin Oberson said. "It's inhumane. It's not safe. Everyone deserves shelter and food and access to health care."

The nurses arrived to the Monastery on Friday and will be there until Monday. They stay at the shelter the whole time helping local doctors take care of the migrants. Santizo said she's just happy to be able to help in anyway she can.

"At the end of the day, we're all human, and we all deserve a chance at life," Santizo said.