I’ve always admired people willing to travel thousands of miles away from home to help those in need.
If you’re fascinated by those people’s stories, you should hear the story of Kate Marsden, an English nurse who raised funds and faced intense travels to help treat people living with leprosy in Siberia.
Kate was born in Middlesex, England, in 1859. After her father died, she grew up in poverty and quickly learned she had to work to make ends meet.
As she got older, Kate developed a passion for nursing, and in the late 1870s, she trained to become a nurse at the evangelical Tottenham Hospital.
In 1877, she volunteered to travel to Bulgaria to tend to soldiers involved in the Russo-Turkish War. During her time in Bulgaria, Kate witnessed patients living with leprosy for the first time. For those who don’t know, leprosy is a bacterial infection that often causes lesions, deformities, nerve damage, and terrible discomfort.
After her time caring for soldiers, Kate began traveling to do thorough research on leprosy and wanted to help find ways to treat it.
During her research, while she was staying in Constantinople, she heard about an herb found in Siberia that was said to help treat leprosy.
So, in 1890, after traveling to Russia to receive an award for her work as a nurse during the war, she met with prominent officials and members of high society to raise awareness for the herb and raise funds for her to travel thousands of miles to Siberia to retrieve it.
In 1891, Kate received enough funds to make the 11,000-mile trek to Siberia in search of the herb and see how it could be used in medical practice for leprosy.