To learn more about how you can help those impacted by flooding in eastern Kentucky, click here.
Emily Cassim, a fourth-year student at the UK College of Medicine-Lexington Campus, is preparing to graduate next spring. The Harlan, Ky., native said she would not be pursuing her dream without the support and encouragement from her family and her community in rural Kentucky.
With an overwhelming sense of gratitude, Cassim felt it was imperative to return the generosity when she learned many eastern Kentucky communities were impacted by devastating flooding this summer.
“I know firsthand how vulnerable this region is and how difficult it will be for its people to recover from this disaster,” she said.
Since late July, when the flooding occurred, Cassim and her fellow medical students have organized a donation drive to gather important items and supplies for those in affected communities. Students from all College of Medicine campuses have participated. In the process, students have maintained connections with local organizations, such as the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, to help distribute items across eastern Kentucky.
So far through their efforts, UK College of Medicine students estimate they have collected more than 100 items.
Specifically, Cassim and second-year student Emalee Patton have served as primary contacts for the collection efforts. Together, they established the donation site on Lexington’s campus, created a shared drive to house information, and have overseen the collection and distribution processes.
Patton, who is from Booneville, Ky. in Owsley County, said having support from others in relief efforts “reminds people in the darkest times that they haven’t truly lost everything as long as they still have love and support of those around them.”
Bradley Firchow, a second-year who has lived in rural Kentucky and West Virginia, has helped spread the word about the flooding and how others can help. He has led student communication efforts, drafted clear and specific language for donation asks, and created sharable graphics for social media.
As someone who has grown up in rural areas, Firchow said he has felt that rural regions of the country often receive less attention. At times, these communities can feel disconnected and isolated.
“The only way that changes is by people generating communities of mutual support to create resilience and trust,” he said. “Our response to this historic flooding is part of that work.”
Cassim agreed. As medical students who are entering a career field of caring for others, she felt it was important for the UK College of Medicine to help address needs. She has been grateful for the response.
“I love eastern Kentucky and the people there,” Cassim said. “It means the world to me for other people to want to help.”
Donations of items such as cleaning supplies, toiletries, nonperishable food, water, first aid supplies, and more are being accepted at three campuses (Lexington, Morehead, and Northern Kentucky).
- Lexington Campus — First-floor student lounge. The next collection will take place 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30.
- RPLP/Morehead — Second floor of the CHER building in office suite 202
- Northern Kentucky – Student lounge. Last day to donate is Aug. 29.
Click here for a list of donation items and ways you can give.
Read more about UK and UK HealthCare’s flood relief efforts below: