by Michael Lievens, MD —

This August, Project Access will be the beneficiary of an amazing fundraiser. “Access the Edge” offers a unique opportunity for participants to rappel (or be lowered) 19 stories down the side of the 125 Market Street building (the New York Life building) in downtown Wichita.

The first 70 fundraisers to raise a minimum of $1,000 in donations will secure a place on the ropes. The funds will go toward supporting the mission of Project Access. This is part of the ongoing celebration of Project Access’ 20th anniversary – and will help it continue its critical mission.

I’m going to do this. I think it will be a blast, and I can’t wait!

I hope that many other physicians in town will raise the $1,000 from their practices, or other sources of generosity, so they can join in this unique fundraiser. I urge you to participate, either individually or by supporting a member of your practice to do it.

When else will any of us get such a cool opportunity?

I have been assured that it will be safe and well supervised by people who know what they are doing, so being risk averse is no excuse!

Information about the Access the Edge event is on this website: http://ote.cphcp.com/

As most of you know, Project Access has been a very successful program initiated by the MSSC 20 years ago. It coordinates care for uninsured citizens of Sedgwick County who have conditions beyond the scope of community safety net clinics, including cancer, diabetes, injuries, heart disease, and many others. More than 635 local physicians and eight hospital systems donate care. Project Access also provides help with some prescriptions and medical equipment.

One recent patient, Chris, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. A local urologist and oncologist were among those who donated their services. “If it hadn’t been for Project Access, none of this would have been able to happen,” Chris said.

In addition to encouraging MSSC members to help raise money and have fun with this event, I urge those physicians who are not participating in Project Access to consider becoming a part of this fulfilling charity organization. To those of you who already participate, I, and many members of the community, thank you for your generosity and service.

On an unrelated topic, I have been thinking a lot lately about the local physicians who are about to retire, or have already retired. My hat is off to you all. This profession we have chosen is demanding, hard work much of the time. Electronic health records and outside “stakeholders” have made it harder for most of us over the past 10-15 years.

It is also an incredibly rewarding profession, on many levels, and we are lucky to be able to do what we do. To those who have been at it for 30, perhaps 40 years or more, I am in awe.

We all have good days, when the work seems to flow easy and we seem to be actually making a difference in our patient’s lives. We are “in the zone,” as athletes would say. It is what we have worked so hard in training to be able to achieve.

We all love those days, and I hope that most of your days are so rewarding. However, we also have days when we don’t feel good, or we are exhausted. Perhaps there are issues in our own lives, or those of our families, that need our attention. Yet we have to show up for work anyway. We have to care for our patients anyway.

This is what true professionals do. We show up, every day, even when we don’t feel like it. Even when the work doesn’t flow easily, and it seems as if we aren’t helping any of our patients. We show up and keep at it.

The persistence, patience, focus and hard work that is expended over a 30-40 year career in medicine is something to behold. Much respect and admiration to you all.