She wasn’t raised under the care of her biological parents, but was fostered by Caucasian parents. Even in her less than affluent foster home, she flourished. Her biological sister died because she couldn’t access the needful medical expertise urgently which inspired a lot. Life has dealt her many blows but somehow, she is still here, still standing and excelling in her every pursuit. Ola Orekunrin is her name, and she is the founder of Flying Doctors, Nigeria; West Africa’s first Air Ambulance Service.
Because she’s super awesome, we’ve made her our Woman Crush Wednesday feature. Here are some facts you never knew about her;
1) Dr. Ola was born in London, England and grew up under the care of foster parents in Lowestoft. She graduated from Hull York Medical School at the age of 21, becoming one of the youngest medical doctors in the United Kingdom
2) Her meteoric rise in the field of medical studies took her to Japan as a result of her being awarded the MEXT Japanese Government Scholarship. There, she conducted clinic research in the field of regenerative medicine at the Jikei University Hospital.
3) She was prompted to start her new venture after her younger sister died of sickle cell anaemia as a result of the unavailability of Air Ambulance services. She was also inspired to assuage the problems of emergency medical services in the Nigeria.
4) Undaunted by difficult challenges, she successfully established Flying Doctors in Lagos, Nigeria in 2007 and she is currently the CEO.
5) Her business now has a mixed-pool of more than 20 aircraft that are used for different types of evacuation, and about 30 staff all employed in different capacities and branches in three major cities in Nigeria
6) Flying Doctors has so far airlifted around 500 patients, using a fleet of planes and helicopters to rapidly move injured workers and critically ill people from remote areas to hospitals.
7) She was a recipient of the Thisday Awards in 2012, and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2013.
8) Ola is a member of both the American Academy of Aesthetic Surgeons and the British Medical Association.
9) Ola was once accused of trying to get free NHS treatment costing £45,425 for a gas worker who suffered severe burns in an explosion in Nigeria at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. She told the General Medical Council tribunal that she had told a QEH doctor that the burns victim was to be treated as a private patient but said that he “misunderstood or misremembered our conversation”.
10) Dr. Ola has also lectured at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
There are certain people you come across in life that are truly inspirational on a number of levels, and Dr. Ola Orekunrin is certainly one of those.