A MEDICAL student has set off on a 9,000-mile journey to help the lives of people in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Ross Sayers, from Silksworth, Sunderland, is part of a three-strong team who are travelling to Mongolia as part of a charity challenge.
The 22-year-old fourth-year student at Newcastle University, along with fellow students and friends Matthew Brown and Sidney Parker, is aiming to complete the journey in four weeks.
They have teamed up with the Go Help, a UK charity which works with communities in Central Asia to improve their education and healthcare.
Their route will take them to Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia before reaching Mongolia.
On arrival, because there is a shortfall of ambulances of about 20 per cent in the Asian country, it will be donated to the Mongolian Ambulance Service.
Ross, a former Argyle House and St Aidan’s pupil, said: “I’m really excited about it but we know that at some point something is going to go wrong.
“We will encounter all sorts of difficulties along the way and an ambulance is probably not the best form of transport to use.”
The ambulance has been donated by the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).
In the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, the group will then spend eight weeks working in the National Trauma and Orthopaedic Centre, helping in the accident and emergency department and other areas of the hospital, to improve their medical skills.
“Hopefully we will learn plenty of things about the different kinds of medicine and we’ll be better when we come back,” added Ross.
“We also hope that the people out there will be able to use the ambulance as well.”
Ross added that he has the support of his parents Rhonda Bone and Brian Sayers for the trip.
“Obviously they want me to go, but being parents they are worried a bit which I understand,” said Ross.
Geoff Craik, who is in charge of the NEAS vehicle fleet, said: “We are delighted to help such a good cause.
“The ambulance the lads are taking had just reached the end of its service period of service with NEAS, but there’s still lots of life left in it. I’m sure it won’t let its new owners down.”
Ross, Matthew and Sidney will be updating a blog and video diary during the trip as well as social networking sites Twitter and Facebook, along the way.
To follow their progress go to www.medics2mongolia.tumblr.com.