When Sam Bloom met Dr Catherine Hamlin

Twenty-five years ago, Sam Bloom – world para-surfing champion and bestselling author – and her husband, Cameron met Dr Catherine Hamlin at her Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.

Sam also met former patient-turned-gifted fistula surgeon and Catherine’s closest friend, Mamitu Gashe.

A nurse herself, Sam reflected on her visit at the time: “Catherine was softly spoken and so humble, but it was abundantly clear how much she loved Ethiopia and its people and how incredibly passionate she was about helping the poor women who came to see her.

Catherine, Reg and Mamitu represented everything I wanted to be when I first decided to become a nurse.”

On Christmas Day last year, Sam and Cameron returned to Ethiopia with their three sons. She noticed enormous changes to the hospital, with huge expansions made to physical therapy, triage, post-surgery treatment and mental health support.

Sam says, “The hospital is creating so many opportunities for these women to live happy and healthy lives and with dignity. One thing that hasn’t changed is the dedication and kindness shown to each of the patients by the staff. It just emanates from their smiles and the way they care for each of the women.

Our family enjoyed meeting all the Hamlin staff and reuniting with Mamitu, who is still performing surgeries.”

“Catherine’s kindness and selfless devotion to the patients of the Fistula Hospital without expecting anything in return still gives me strength today.” – Sam Bloom

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