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Ben Slaymaker is man with a whole new mission
10:00am Saturday 28th December 2013 in News
A man has told how he left a “life in the fast lane” to run a medical outreach team helping victims of a catastrophic typhoon.
Former Threshfield Primary School pupil Ben Slaymaker was among the first team of medical aid workers to reach Mayorga, one of the poorest areas of the Philippines inundated by November’s horrifying floods.
Over two days the team set up field clinics at three different sites and administered medical and dental care and counselling to more than 1,000 adults and children Ben was there heading up the administration and management of OnCall, the medical outreach team of the Times Square Church he attends in New York.
He took the job after giving up a lucrative post establishing the New York division of London-based digital advertising agency, Ralph.
He said: “Even though we only skimmed the surface of what continues to be a huge relief operation, we all really felt we were able to strengthen a portion of the community and bring a glimmer of hope to a small poverty-stricken town.
“I came to New York to live in the fast lane and pursue a lucrative career and despite achieving that, never really felt truly fulfilled until this last year.
“It’s incredible how you think you are sacrificing to give something back but actually end up getting so much more out of it in return – I sincerely thank God for the opportunity.”
It was after the birth of his son Jack, in May 2012, that Ben took a year out to work on a philanthropy project at the Times Square Church in March 2013 which he had been attending since moving to New York.
His role was to project manage and develop a new website to showcase all the domestic and international humanitarian project work in which the church was involved along with advertising opportunities for volunteers.
OnCall is made up of more than 150 volunteer medical professionals who regularly travel to projects around the world to provide free care to communities with little or no access to medical care.
A team of eight was already preparing to visit the slums of Manila when typhoon Haiyan struck.
After arriving in Manila they teamed up with local relief organisation Operation Compassion before flying to Cebu for a three-hour ferry ride to Leyte, one of the hardest hit provinces in the area.
“On the back of the outreach, our project co-ordinator and Operation Compassion have committed to a six-year rebuilding programme in the town and we are looking to send another team out to help in February.”
Ben attended Threshfield Primary School before moving to Sedbergh School in Cumbria to study for his GCSEs and A-levels.
He met his wife Maria Lomas at Leeds University where he studied between 1997 and 2000 and the couple married in 2007.
The couple moved to New York in 2009 where he also worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2010 as e-commerce technology and content manager. “I love Yorkshire, and I love England, and I’m looking forward to returning home in a few months and bringing back everything life has taught me over the last five years,” he added.
If people wish to donate to the cause, read more about the trip or simply check out the new website, visit tscmissions.org