FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – This week’s Healthcare Hero is a trauma survivor who’s living to tell, teach and treat those who need help overcoming their own traumas.
“My hope is that I’ll go into someone’s room and she’ll decide to take back her life like I did,” Kelsie Igasan said.
Igasan survived a trauma in 2017 and changed her life for the better. A suicide attempt left her with a broken leg and a brain hemorage. She was asked to become a trauma peer visitor at community regional medical center. Igasan visits rooms and helps patients overcome their fears by providing hope through listening, sharing her story and answering any questions they may have. She also shows compassion and understanding for what they might be facing.
“I try to channel what I felt like laying on that bed–going into that patient’s room. And really try to remember what it was like for me to be laying there and by doing that I hope that the patient will see that they’re not alone and that the way that they feel is okay no matter how they’re feeling.”
Igasan is the first trauma survivor, locally, to become a peer visitor and hopes her time at Community Regional can help inspire someone the way she was inspired by the staff who helped her.
“I get very emotional when I think about them asking me to do this. Of course, I sometimes wonder, why me? I’ve been through so much and you know, when they asked me, I was honored. You know, when I was a patient, my nurses stepped up as my peer visitors. They shared their stories with me and when I wanted to give up, I would think about what they told me and I kept going. If I can go in and inspire someone to take back their life, it could be a generational change for that person and their family and I’ve seen that within my own family. My goal would just be to inspire someone enough to think that they’re worthy or that they’re strong enough to do what they need to do to overcome their trauma–no matter what it is–that they can do it.”
The trauma peer visitor program is offered through the Trauma Survivor Network where survivors are trained before seeing patients.