Hello, and thank you for joining us on the Journey.
My name is Jay Breitlow and I am a Chiropractor and the Founder/Director of the organization Wellness International Missions, Inc., known as Journey to Solidarity (J2S). It is important to us that you have considered joining us on the team, whether it is through a monetary tax-free gift, or living in Africa as a missionary. As there are many options out there as to where your philanthropic gift goes, we believe it’s important you understand where this idea came from, where it’s going, and who is behind it.
About the Founder
I was born as the oldest in a tight knit family of four in Madison, Wisconsin. To accommodate my father’s growing ambitions of becoming a High School Principal, our family moved when I was 12 to a suburb of Milwaukee called Wauwatosa. About midterm of my freshman term at Wauwatosa West High School, my father was shot and killed in the same hallway that I would walk for another three and a half years. After graduation, to put some geographic distance between the trauma, I decided to attend school out of state, and enrolled at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
After five great years at Purdue I graduated in May of 2002 with a Bachelors of Science in Nuclear Engineering. Out of school I accepted a position as a nuclear fuels engineer with an energy company in Richmond, Virginia. It was before work started full-time that the travel bug began to bite via a short two-month, 16 country, tour of Europe. These traveling experiences, and over two years working within corporate America, led me searching internally for something that was a bit “more fitting,”. This meant two things to me; the first was to travel more, and the second was to enroll in Chiropractic school. Choosing Chiropractic was a bit out of the box for me, but as I looked around, I saw poor health, and spinal degeneration happening right in front of my eyes. I decided the poor health I saw wasn’t going to happen to me, and there has got to be something I can do to help people like this.
In June of 2004, before beginning the long exciting journey toward becoming a Chiropractor, I traveled the South Pacific for eight glorious and liberating months. The purpose of the trip at the time was very much self-gratifying, however what I learned about independent travel, religion and culture, shaped much of my future and still fuels my desire to travel as a humanitarian today.
In March 2005 I started Chiropractic school at Palmer College in Davenport, Iowa. While in school I learned a great deal about not just health, pathology, and how to be a doctor, but also how to balance activities, both volunteering and socially in addition to physically. Teaching Anatomy and student government was a passion from the start, and a love for the active life blossomed as I was selected as an All-American Endurance Triathlete and 2-time Ironman. After graduation, Cum Laude, with my Doctorate on October 24th, 2008 I assumed a short-term practice in Fremont, Nebraska for an establish doctor on maternity leave. As of current, I am the Founder/Director ‘Journey to Solidarity’.
The Birth of J2S:
J2S, as the team is affectionately called, was founded while I was still in school at Palmer College of Chiropractic. In February of 2008 many students participated in a humanitarian mission trip to Brazil, and I was naturally one of them. While there, we played with orphans, educated people about how to take care of their bodies, and of course delivered the power of the Adjustment; all of this without taking compensation. When I returned to school I decided I had to dedicate my life to making experiences like this a permanent thing. To me, a Chiropractic miracle can occur with one adjustment, however the most powerful results are obtained with consistent long-term care. As far as I know, there are still no organizations out there, besides J2S, which provides sustainable long-term conservative based healthcare/chiropractic.
At the urging of one of my teachers, Dr. Jean Murray, the current J2S Treasurer and one of my most beloved friends, the decision was made to start an organization that could traverse not just oceans, but generations. In our eyes, this needed to be something that could continue in the most impoverished countries, through the most difficult of times without missing a beat. This meant surrounding ourselves with the most generous and loving of individuals, people with diverse backgrounds. If you read their bios, you will see that they are each uniquely talented and dedicated to sharing their gifts with the world also.
What we needed were contacts, and through the coordinator of Palmer’s clinic abroad program, Lori Curry, we found them. The first location of interest for ‘Journey’ was Antsiranana Madagascar, where we were hopeful to pioneer Chiropractic to a country of 20 million people. That was until January 20th, when political tension and subsequent violence forced us to look elsewhere; three days before the scheduled departure. Frustrated with forces beyond our control we looked to other locations and other contacts. As fate would have it, at a seminar in Las Vegas, I randomly met a chiropractor, Dr. Marcus, who has set-up a clinic in Ghana about five years ago and was in need of another doctor for his clinic. Spending four days a week volunteering in Dr. Marcus’ clinic and three days in the rural areas providing free services the J2S team learned heaps about what it takes to bring a relatively new profession to a country often described as “third world.”
The Future of J2S
The Vision of J2S is centered on the Chiropractic philosophy that “the power that made the body, heals the body.” That being stated the future approach to our program is very much multifaceted.
Health/Education: Although we can break health and education down into two areas, they are so intertwined that each is dependent on the other. A chiropractic exam would accompany each individual and a specific adjustment, if needed, is given free of charge. Although we do accept donations (cents on the dollar) for those people who can and do wish to complete the cycle of giving; these donations are then put directly into schools and health related programs for the community served. One good turn deserves another and the community is built by the community as they achieve better health.
Each prospective patient receives an in depth explanation about what their health is, what the adjustment is, what a Chiropractor does and how they actually have to take control of their health to live a long and prosperous life.
HIV: Although far from the epicenter of the HIV epidemic, Ghana still has a very serious issue centered on this terrible disease. Thus programs to educate about the disease, associated stigmas, and how to prevent transmission are all underway. The impact that Chiropractic has on this disease is also of great importance to the team.
Scholarships: We have set-up a program in which a native African would have the ability to become a licensed Chiropractor and truly sustain the initiatives long into the future.
Mission trips: Currently there is only one long-term chiropractor on site, with a second in the process of joining the team. Short-term mission trips to Ghana are scheduled for the winter of 2009/10. Details of the trip will be coming out via email and through the website.
Awareness: Much of what we do is raising awareness that there is a problem in the quality of healthcare and education in many parts of the world. As the US discusses healthcare to address the current cost and accessibility, know there are parts of the world where people have little, if any, access to healthcare. In the cases of broken legs or malaria, this means in some cases carrying the patient on foot over 20km. J2S enables care to come to the front door step for anybody.
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