‘I was speechless’: Man raises $15,000 in days to help his friend become a doctor

Revay Stewart and Ruffin Tchakounte met inside an emergency room. Tchakounte was in rotation as a fourth-year student at Des Moines University in Iowa. “My class, we have three Black students out of 220, including myself,” Tchakounte said. “And so I’m always delighted to see other people, Black people specifically, in medicine.”Stewart was working as a scribe, not in medical school yet. Undergraduate degree debt was holding him back. “I owed well over $10,000 and so I’ve been working these long hours trying to pay that off,” Stewart said. DMU professor John Bennet said that barrier is far too common in this field. “Many individuals may not necessarily have adequate resources, especially within the Black community,” Bennett said. So Tchakounte rallied his mentors and decided to do something about it. “When Ruffin came to me with this huge heart, and a sincere heart, to want to make a difference, I was just impressed. And I said, ‘Let’s work together. Let’s make this happen,'” said Richard A. Salas, DMU chief diversity officer. Stewart gained a circle of support and soon more people started rooting for his success. A GoFundMe amplified his story, raising $15,000 in just days. “I was speechless,” Stewart said. “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know if this was wrong, like if this was an error.”Stewart could pay off his student debt. He’s now studying for the MCAT and one step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming a doctor. “In five, six years, he’s going to be serving in the community that he came from, and for people that look like him to see him serving them is invaluable,” Tchakounte said.Stewart will take the medical college admission test on June 30. If he’s happy with his score, he’ll then be able to apply for medical school. He said DMU is high on the list.

Revay Stewart and Ruffin Tchakounte met inside an emergency room.

Tchakounte was in rotation as a fourth-year student at Des Moines University in Iowa.

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“My class, we have three Black students out of 220, including myself,” Tchakounte said. “And so I’m always delighted to see other people, Black people specifically, in medicine.”

Stewart was working as a scribe, not in medical school yet. Undergraduate degree debt was holding him back.

“I owed well over $10,000 and so I’ve been working these long hours trying to pay that off,” Stewart said.

DMU professor John Bennet said that barrier is far too common in this field.

“Many individuals may not necessarily have adequate resources, especially within the Black community,” Bennett said.

So Tchakounte rallied his mentors and decided to do something about it.

“When Ruffin came to me with this huge heart, and a sincere heart, to want to make a difference, I was just impressed. And I said, ‘Let’s work together. Let’s make this happen,'” said Richard A. Salas, DMU chief diversity officer.

Stewart gained a circle of support and soon more people started rooting for his success.

A GoFundMe amplified his story, raising $15,000 in just days.

“I was speechless,” Stewart said. “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know if this was wrong, like if this was an error.”

Stewart could pay off his student debt. He’s now studying for the MCAT and one step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming a doctor.

“In five, six years, he’s going to be serving in the community that he came from, and for people that look like him to see him serving them is invaluable,” Tchakounte said.

Stewart will take the medical college admission test on June 30. If he’s happy with his score, he’ll then be able to apply for medical school. He said DMU is high on the list.

Contributed by local news sources

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