Help a Wits medical student Campaign
My name is Lilyossa Mandizvidza and medicine is my life. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to become a doctor. I remember seeing doctors in their scrubs with their stethoscopes when I was younger, dedicating their lives to serve others and I knew that I wanted that to do that one day as well. This passion was solidified at the time that both my grandparents passed away 6 months apart from each other, all because we couldn't afford the proper medical attention that they required at the time. I hadn't started with my medical career at the time, and I remember wishing that I could do something to help them, but I unfortunately couldn't. I did not want to ever feel this helpless again and watch my loved ones die right before my lies, and so I knew at time that medicine was my calling.
My journey to medicine was not an easy one. Despite my 7 distinctions in matric, I did not get accepted into medicine. I had to do a BSc Biological Sciences degree and after graduating from this degree, by the grace of God, I got accepted into medicine through the GEMP program at Wits. This is a very hard program to get into, so I felt very lucky to be among those who were chosen to be part of the program.
I am happy to say that I am now a fifth-year medical student and I'm only 1 year away from finally becoming a doctor. As a fifth-year medical student, we mostly spend our time in the hospital doing clinical work. This has made me fall in love with medicine even more. I love working with patients, helping them get better, interacting with them and sometimes developing a relationship with them. It feels so wonderful being in the clinical environment, getting to see the diseases that we learnt about in the textbooks, in real patients. I love putting into practice all the work that we were taught, and I cannot see myself doing anything else with the rest of my life.
It is this passion that has inspired me to work hard, since high school, so that I can be the best doctor I can be. In addition to being the valedictorian in my high school with an overall average of 89%, I was the number 8 top achiever in my district. I was also on the dean’s list for my previous degree and got first class certificates for Physics, Maths, Biology and Chemistry; and now, despite how challenging medical school has been, I have continued pushing myself really hard and my average for last year was 75%.
Getting funding for my studies had been a real challenge. Because I am not a South African student, I'm originally from Zimbabwe but have been living and studying in South Africa for the past 13 years, getting funding is very hard because most bursaries and scholarships require people with South African citizenship. Additionally, my single mother is my only source of support since my father left us when I was young, and she cannot afford to pay my fees. I have therefore had to struggle to raise funds for my studies. I managed to complete my previous degree through raising funds on Backabuddy and other fundraising pages. Once I got into medical school, I was lucky because a charity organization in Sandton decided to fund me after seeing my fundraising page. However, due to limited funds, they said they cannot continue funding me. I am therefore in need of funds for my school fees.
I would therefore like to kindly ask for your assistance. Please help me by passing my story around and if you can help me, then that would really go a long way for me.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story.