South University

For the second year running the South University Anesthesiologist Assistant Program held its annual Chili Cook-Off to raise funds for Lifebox.

We were keen to find out how this tasty fundraiser (which has become a firm tradition) started, so we caught up with two of the event organisers, Haley Herrington and Taylor Kiley and this is what we learned.

This is a really unique event, what inspired it?

In 2014, our class officers were really looking to start a new event to benefit Lifebox that hopefully will be continued for years to come. At the time, there were small fundraisers we were doing to raise money, but there really was no large-scale event in place. After brainstorming ideas, we decided that a chili cook-off could not only be a fun, but in all likelihood, a very successful event. It took a lot of planning in its first year, but so many local businesses were so willing to support this event and Lifebox, making it a huge success. Due to this we decided to hold the event again this year and it is now a tradition that we hope to continue!

What motivated you to support Lifebox?

We as an Anesthesiologist Assistant program choose to support Lifebox because we firmly believe in the mission of this charity. The number of surgeries that take place without proper patient monitoring and how many lives are truly at risk due to unsafe surgical conditions is a complete shock to many people. It would be shameful, as future anesthesiologist assistants, for us to not support Lifebox’s efforts to Make It Zero and promote safer surgeries worldwide. Lifebox is doing truly incredible work and saving countless lives in the process, an act that we feel fortunate to take a small part.

Why is it important for anaesthesiology students like yourselves to support safer anaesthesia and surgical care around the world?

Undergoing a surgical procedure or receiving anesthesia can be a very nerve wracking experience for any patient. It is our job as future anesthesiologist assistants to be an advocate for our patients and create a safe surgical environment. Every patient should have the right to safe anesthesia and exemplary surgical care worldwide. By supporting Lifebox’s efforts, we can help ensure that each and every patient is afforded this right.

What skills have you gained from organising this event?

After organizing this event, we’ve learned more about the importance of getting the community involved in fundraising. We heavily advertised the event and were able to recruit chili cooking teams from the hospitals where we perform our clinical rotations. Two of the nine teams were anesthetists and one team was an occupational health nurse from the hospital. By getting local medical personnel involved, we were able to spread the word about Lifebox and the great work that the charity is doing worldwide. We also sought support from local businesses in the Savannah area and collected items for a raffle drawing at the chili cook-off, which allowed us to tell these businesses more about Lifebox and its mission.

What does safer surgery mean to you?

Safer surgery means ensuring that physicians, nurses, anesthetists, and other personnel have the resources and training they need to care for patients. Supplying areas in need with basic necessities and providing instruction to healthcare providers is important, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to support the noble work that Lifebox does.