Deborah McGann

Back to Africa

Ever since she was a small child, Deborah has had a heart connection to the people of Africa. Though she never visited this continent until much later in life, her childhood prepared her well. She traveled with her parents and aunt to many international destinations where she cultivated a keen awareness and understanding of many cultures. Her attention and heart were always captured when she heard the melodic African dialect being spoken on the subway trains in New York City, where she lived. She read every article ever written in National Geographic Magazine about Africa.

 In her mid-40s Deborah went to a presentation about "Doctors without Borders," given by Dr. Lauren, one of the organization's physicians, and they became instant friends. With her Master's Degree in World Health, her training and experience as a paramedic, along with her ease with international travel, Deborah was privileged to be invited to accompany Dr. Lauren to several African Countries. While there she worked in the clinics alongside Dr. Lauren, providing medical treatment and health education.

Her dream was finally beginning to manifest! During her entire time there, Deborah experienced a sense of inexplicable gratitude for the gift of being able to work with such amazing skilled physicians and nurses. Looking into the eyes of a woman who just walked two hours to the clinic in hopes of receiving medical care gave Deborah the greatest satisfaction of all-knowing that her life was with purpose and on purpose-that she would be able to alleviate the woman's suffering, improve her quality of life, along with the many others who would walk through the clinic door.

Bluffton, South Carolina has been Deborah's base camp for the last four years. Shortly after she moved here, the Peace Corps called her spirit back to Africa. This time she had the opportunity to live in the bush with two families that she quickly came to deeply love, witnessing their daily routines, celebrations and struggles, and supporting them in every way she could. Her duties on this assignment included AIDS and malaria education, prenatal care education, performing emergency deliveries and administering immunizations to the surrounding villages.

Deborah's compassionate heart is reflected in the chosen profession of her two daughters who have both chosen careers as physicians serving the poor in inner New York City hospitals.

Multi-talented Deborah also has a background in law. She volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem-representing children who have been removed from unstable and dangerous home environments in court actions.

She also gives of her time and talents to Hope Haven as a board member, volunteer fundraiser, and will soon be providing crisis counseling to rape victims. She brings much expertise about the law, especially women's rights, along with a hugely compassionate heart to this work, and emits a sense of hope where none before existed.

In her spare time Deborah also serves as a hospice volunteer, administering to the dying and their families with great love and smile on her face.

To sum up Deborah's life purpose in a few words-service to the underprivileged. Her life is truly an inspiration.

Up Close:

For Fun: Biking, hiking, kayaking, running, exploring parts unknown
Favorite Things: Hot Yoga, the TV show "Locked Up Abroad", Union Square Farmer's Market in NYC, and a good bottle of red wine shared with friends.
Favorite Quote: "Do something every day that scares you." Eleanor Roosevelt
Inspired By: The resilience, kindness, and beautiful hearts of the people she has met in her international travels.
Deepest Desire: To return to Africa with her daughters to provide ongoing health care services along with a hefty dose of love and compassion.