Three medical students at Oxford University are soon to start the adventure of a lifetime, driving an ambulance from Oxford to Mongolia for charity.
Their 5,000 mile journey starts from Oxford this Sunday (26 March), will take three weeks to complete and is part of the Mongolia Charity Rally – an annual event organised by the charity, Go Help. At the finish line the ambulance will be donated to the Mongolian Health Services, as the country faces a serious shortage of emergency vehicles.
Emily McFiggans, Jennifer Southern and Alex Blakes will remain in Mongolia for two months, working in local hospitals and giving English lessons to Mongolian doctors in collaboration with student-run organisation, Medics2Mongolia.
The team has raised £2,000 in donations for Go Help and a further £8,000 for the costs of the trip through travel grants and adventure bursaries – managing to achieve this while working towards their final exams which they passed in January.
“We’ve been planning the project for more than a year”, said Jennifer Southern, who came up with the idea. “It’s a huge relief to have put the exams behind us and to have qualified. Between revision and this project, we’ve had little time for anything else – but it’s been worth it. Now we can focus on getting ourselves and the ambulance to Mongolia in one piece!”
The ambulance they will be driving has been donated by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS).
Phil Pimlott, Assistant Director of Operational Quality and Compliance at SCAS said: “We renew our vehicles every eight years or so. This ambulance has reached retirement age, but it’s in great working order. It’s nice to know that it will be put to good use by the charity.”
“We’re incredibly grateful for the support that we’ve received from SCAS and elsewhere”, said Emily McFiggans, another or the student trio. “For example, the costs of our heavy goods vehicle driving tests were sponsored by local driving school, Trailer Training UK. We’re really humbled by everyone’s generosity.”
Jennifer, Emily and Alex will take the northern route to Mongolia, travelling through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia. You can follow their progress at https://mongoliaambulanceproject.wordpress.com
If you would like to help with the costs of the journey (such as fuel and driving permits) please visit www.gofundme.com/going-short
To make a charitable donation directly to Go Help, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/medics-khan-drive