Wendy Lee was in the Wichita airport late last week, loaded down with $1,000 worth of antibiotics, when she checked a Facebook message from her son: "Mom, come back alive," he said.
"I wasn't worried until I read that," Lee said.
Lee, 41, is a registered nurse who lives in west Wichita with her husband, John, and two sons, Aden, 9, and Collin, 8. She works at Maize Transnet, a special-education school in Maize.
Along with six nursing students from Lincoln, Neb., Lee traveled to Florida on Thursday, where the group then flew to Haiti, arriving on Friday.
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In Haiti, they have plans to work at a mission that has been turned into a makeshift refugee camp since the earthquake in January.
"After the earthquake, I felt like, 'How could I not go help?' " Lee said of her decision to visit the disaster-stricken country.
John Lee said many of his wife's decisions throughout life have been shaped by her love for children, including working in pediatric intensive care in the past and currently with children with special needs.
"Wendy really loves children. She has a special affinity for helping them," he said.
The group plans to confront three main issues while treating Haitians: gastrointestinal problems, malnutrition and infections.
"Their rainy season is just starting, so we will probably see respiratory problems as well," Wendy Lee said.
The group is armed with medical supplies people donated or that were purchased with donations. They include everything from bandages and protein powder to antibiotics.
"I just pray all our supplies get there," Lee said.
Kim Perry, one of the Lees' neighbors, describes Wendy Lee as an "inspiring person." Perry is one of the main people who helped collect donations for the trip, including toothbrushes and dental floss from her dentist's office.
"I didn't even have to go out of my way to help,'' Perry said. "I just talked to friends, family and acquaintances throughout my every day life. If they were given a specific way, people were happy to help.''
Perry believes Lee is a great example of selflessness for her two sons.
"Those little boys are very lucky to have the parents they do," Perry said.
For John Lee, the week his wife is gone will be spent with Aden and Collin, who he said are already planning to bend the rules in her absence.
"Although I'm very supportive, I'm still a little nervous for her," John Lee said. "One thing I know for sure: There are three boys at home who want her to come back safely. And I'm one of them."