Medical Mission

Making A Difference

Roslyn High Schooler embarks on medical missions across the world 

For Aiden Fiterstein, the true joys of life can be found in helping others. The Roslyn High School senior has now been on a handful of medical missions across the world, including Panama, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, helping to bring medical supplies and care to vulnerable communities. He was joined on his most recent mission by younger brother Ethan, who is excited to be a part of such an important cause.

Aiden (fourth from right) and his brother Ethan (third from right) on a medical mission in the DR.

Early high school years were tough on Aiden. While he could have turned to less-than-favorable pastimes to cope, he instead found his joy in helping others. At the suggestion of his physician-father Adam, Aiden accompanied him to Panama for what would be the first of many medical missions. “My heart lives there,” Aiden said. “I will never forget the first time I stepped into [Panama City].”

In Panama, Fiterstein aided Floating Doctors, an organization dedicated to bringing coastal impoverished communities life-saving health care, and basic but crucial medical services. Fiterstein aided the Ngäbe-Bugle indigenous communities in Bocas del Toro, filling prescriptions, distributing medication, and offering emotional support for patients and their families. The trip was totally unplanned for Fiterstein, and totally changed his life. “I was helping people… I felt like a hero. I’ll forever be doing this, I love the medical missions.”

Fiterstein’s most recent mission was to the Dominican Republic, accompanied by younger brother Ethan. In the DR, the Fiterstein brothers helped support the community of the Batey El Soco, outside of San Pedro de Macoris. Tasks included sorting medications, ophthalmology testing, and setting up pop-up clinics within the respective local communities. Aiden also participated in training programs aimed at educating local healthcare providers on diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and the need for vaccinations. Ethan, a Roslyn freshman, was finally able to see firsthand what his father and brother had been up to for the last few years. His favorite part? “Helping people, especially during the optometry sessions,” Ethan said.

“When [patients] were given glasses and they got to see for the first time, and they smiled, that was a really nice feeling.”

The trip was led by One World Surgery, a nonprofit organization addressing the global health crisis by collaborating with communities, healthcare professionals, and healthcare leaders to provide surgical and general medical services. One World Surgery has conducted over 40 medical missions serving 20,000 patients, providing 19,000 patient consults, and 17,000 surgeries since 2023. “I feel deeply moved by the opportunity to help and return to support these people,” said Aiden. “Their resilience and strength inspires me.”

For their father, seeing Aiden — and now Ethan — flourish has been a blessing. “It’s tough for kids these days. If you can go through high school without any feelings of anxiety or depression, you’re kind of the odd one out… There was a time when Aiden was feeling despondent, and I said, you don’t even realize the good you can do in this world. Even as a sophomore in high school. You think because you’re not out there doing surgery on someone, or championing some legislation, that you don’t have any skills, but you do.” In a world of social media overload, where lots of kids and young adults are focusing on what they cannot do, or do not have, it can be life-changing for a young person to learn what they do have, and what they have had the privileges to accomplish.

Aiden hopes for a future full of medical missions and hopes to take some time after college to focus on them. His eyes have been opened to the world of medical aid, and is grateful for not only the experiences, but who they are helping him become. “They do some really great things, and experiencing foreign countries and other parts of the world is so interesting to me. I’m doing good things, and [through that] I’m finding inner peace with myself.”

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