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International medical student at Queen’s University turns to fundraising to pay tuition

Click to play video: 'An international student studying medicine at Queen’s University needs tuition funding help.' An international student studying medicine at Queen’s University needs tuition funding help.
WATCH: Counting on the generosity of others, an international medical student at Queen's University turns to GoFundMe. – Dec 8, 2021

An international student at Queen’s University couldn’t afford his tuition when his parents back in Ecuador ran into financial problems.

So he counted on the generosity of others, and so far the community has responded.

“I will trust that people care about my story,” says Gilmar Gutierrez.

“I will trust that people will resonate with me.”

Gutierrez is a fourth-year medical student.

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He wants to stay in Kingston and finish his schooling here, but COVID may have changed those plans.

“I’ve been able to pay for the first three years of tuition with the help of my parents, bank loans and even family friends,” says Gutierrez.

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“For my last year of tuition, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been difficult in my parents’ situation significantly. Their business is unable to produce as much money to even cover the tuition of my last year.”

Now Gutierrez, who is currently doing his clerkship at Providence Care, has taken to social media and set up a GoFundMe campaign for himself.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, the fund had reached close to $43,000.

“The response has been absolutely incredible,” says Gutierrez.

“I have no words to express how thankful I am to everyone who has donated already, to the people who have shared the story and honestly, I was surprised.”

Dr. Megan Yang is one of dozens of donors, and she’s also someone who has witnessed Gutierrez in action.

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“I really want him to be able to succeed because he wants to stay in Canada and psychiatry is an under-served field,” says Dr. Yang, a psychiatrist for Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

“To have someone so exceptional being able to practice would be a great benefit to so many people.”

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Dr. Yang, who has worked alongside Gutierrez, has nothing but praise for the fourth-year med student.

“I’ve worked with Gilmar both as supervising him as a medical student, and he’s also a student in our psychotherapy lab,” says Dr. Yang.

“So I’ve had a lot of interactions with him and I really find he’s absolutely exceptional in a very holistic way both his knowledge and intelligence, professionalism and humanistic qualities are exceptional. Every now and then you see this kind of exceptional person and you really want them to succeed.”

Gutierrez plans on staying in Canada and one day proving all his donors right that they backed a winner.

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