Wed | Sep 18, 2019

‘Nothing is impossible’ - Young doctor thanks Gleaner readers for making med school dream a reality

Published:Monday | August 19, 2019 | 12:17 AMBarbara Gayle/Contributor
Dr Monifa Marshall

Having surmounted daunting obstacles on her journey to becoming a medical doctor, Monifa Marshall is today expressing gratitude to all who helped to make her dream a reality.

The then 19-year-old St Jago High School past student had been accepted to pursue medicine at The University of the West Indies, Mona, in 2014, when her mother died just before the start of the school year. The grief and lack of financial support had left her feeling helpless with her hope of attending medical school hanging in the balance.

Former Senior Parish Judge Lorna Errar, who had been a bedrock of support to Marshall during her high-school years, encouraged the teen to seek help through The Sunday Gleaner. Then her fortunes changed.

“When the article was published in The Sunday Gleaner, I got a lot of assistance [from persons] both locally and overseas, from different groups, organisations and individuals who wanted to be good Samaritans,” Marshall told The Gleaner last week, adding that she was able to pursue her studies without racking up debt.

“I came through loan-free,” said Marshall, who completed her studies in June and will be graduating in November.

“I am really, really grateful because without the financial assistance, I would never be able to graduate,” she said.

real eye-opener

Now 24, Marshall, who is now on internship at Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine, said the overwhelming support she received has been an eye-opener.

“It has shown me that there are people in my country – and even outside of my country – who are willing to come to your assistance when you are doing something that will make a lasting impact,” she told The Gleaner.

“I have come to realise nothing is impossible,” added Marshall, who has strong faith in God. “You just need to stay committed and trust God to see you through.”

She said some persons had tried to discourage her from pursuing her goal to be a doctor and to find a job or a less-expensive course to study.

“I decided not to give up and decided to go forward with my goal for myself and in memory of my mother, who would have encouraged me not to give up,” Marshall emphasised.

“My mother was always depriving herself of things so that I could be properly cared for and attend school regularly,” she added.

One of the young doctor’s regrets is that her mother did not live to see her graduate from medical school. She said there were times when the challenges felt overwhelming and she wished that her mother was alive to comfort and encourage her.

Grateful for the support she had received, Marshall said she is very aware of the importance of helping others, especially the less fortunate, and will endeavour to do so.

“I am a firm believer that we should be willing to help those in need in whatever way we can to improve the quality of their life,” she said, adding that at times, it may not be financial support that people need, but just words of encouragement to motivate them to attain their goals.

She is urging the youth to set goals and believe in themselves “because at the end of the day, it is really about how committed you are to the goals you want to achieve”.