Abigail Loszko remembers the surgery. She remembers watching the doctors operate on a child with a club foot.
The second-year biochemistry student remembers how when the 45-minute surgery was done, how she knew the child's life would be different.
“It was amazing to know that in those 45 minutes, that kid’s life was going to be completely changed,” she said. “He was going to be able to go to school, get a job and get married and be a normal person in society, just because a doctor performed that surgery.”
For that week, she was at a hospital in sub-Sahara, surrounded by children that were outcast from society due to physical deformities and illnesses like Hydrocephalus, Clubfoot and Spina Bifida.
She spent her time there with CURE U, a program through which college students volunteer in international hospitals, evangelize and take medical mission trips in outlying villages.
Children are the focal point of CURE U and they were the focal point of Loszko’s trip. She worked intently with the children in the hospital to help treat their diseases and bring smiles to their faces.
“You’re here working and raising money for these kids hundreds and thousands of miles away,” Loszko said. “But when you go and you see their faces while you’re blowing up a balloon, it can lighten your day immensely.”
USC CURE members traveled to Zambia and Kenya over the summer to work in hospitals and help doctors treat children with physical deformities.
“These kids have been cast out of society their whole lives — they weren’t allowed to go to school, they weren’t allowed to hang out with friends or get a job because they looked different,” Loszko said. “With this surgery through CURE, their lives are completely changed.”
What she loved most about CURE was having an international reach, while she was still going to college in America. This year, the group is talking with a Ugandan hospital to keep in touch with hospitalized children they are raising money for.
“Knowing that we can be on a college campus and make an impact like that — it’s pretty cool,” Loszko said.
CURE also spreads Christianity in third-world countries. They speak to local children in villages about religion.
The first time the group showed up in a village, the children were so scared of them that they cried. After that week in that village, Loszko said, they were “best friends” with the kids and that they didn’t want them to leave.
“It definitely breaks you out of your little American bubble by seeing that these people are the poorest of the poor, but they are happier than we are here in America,” she said.
She said spreading her religion was so “eye-opening” because of the way the people responded to the message.
“As a Christian here, you’re so afraid to say something because there’s a risk of offending someone,” she said. “But there, they were clinging onto every word you said. It was totally encouraging as a Christian.”
Loszko said the reason that she loved CURE and raising money was because she got to be a part of something bigger than herself.
And that’s what she said inspires her.
“People on campus really want to become something that is bigger than themselves. People in college get so wrapped up in building their resumes, getting good grades, getting a good class schedule,” she said. “But becoming a part of something bigger than themselves that involves children thousands of miles away is really inspiring.”