As part of the Journey to Solidarity program, Dr. Breitlow, left,
drove to northern Ghana to provide care to orphans, most of
whom were HIV positive. On each commute, he’d see this family
selling handmade drums and rattles to make their living.
Journey to Solidarity, or J2S, as we affectionately call it, was
founded to allow people around the world to experience the
miracles of chiropractic. When I was a student at Palmer, I knew
that Clinic Abroad had made several trips to Madagascar, but I
wondered if there was a way to continue chiropractic care there
after our students had left. Due to a civil war, I never made it to
Madagascar. Instead, I found myself in Ghana, West Africa, facing
people who were very much in need of some healing hands.
One person who left a lasting impression on me was a brilliant
carpenter named Eraldo. When I met Eraldo, he was clutching
his side, doubled over with an ice pack, and had to be helped
into a chair by two of his employees. I was still pretty green
when I adjusted him and a little shocked when he screamed,
and even more shocked when he came into the office solo and
upright the next day. It’s a beautiful reminder of how grateful
I am for chiropractic.
The biggest challenges I had in getting J2S up and running
were financial because I had to communicate to the masses at
home to raise money while I was living abroad. Just one post
on the Internet can take the better part of a whole day, and
that is assuming the lights are on! If it weren’t for scores of
great people making donations to J2S, I wouldn’t have been
able to go for the first year at all.
The biggest educational benefit I received from J2S was
discerning the difference between service and sacrifice. Rarely
do we adjust people in the states without collecting a fee for
our services. In Africa, I was rarely reimbursed except under
After about five months sacrificing (not serving), I realized that
this gift we have in chiropractic loses its value when it’s free.
When I began setting an expectation that people donate something
in return (essentially giving them permission to give and
complete the cycle of giving), the adjustment was magnified
ten-fold in its power! It didn’t have to be a big donation—
even something small like a piece of fruit or a few cents—gave
more meaning to the experience. Then I took all those earnings
and pumped them back into community schools, hospitals
Although living in Africa is relatively inexpensive, maintaining a
life as a chiropractor and keeping family ties isn’t. After two years,
I realized I was going to have to work on grant writing to get
more funding for J2S. However, after spending what felt like
a millennium writing grant requests, the J2S board and I
realized that we were going to have to do something else to
continue our mission. We decided I needed to raise money by
running my own practice back in the U.S. to sustain my own
life and my familial relationships. Now that I’m in the U.S.
again, $20 of each new patient visit to our practice, as well
as the practice’s of some of my colleagues, goes directly to J2S.
If you have a desire to provide chiropractic care to people in
need, be sure you give permission to complete the cycle of
giving. What you have is a miracle to share and should be
treated as such. This miracle grows in strength and value beyond
measure when you set it on the wings of service, not sacrifice.