Dr. Rod Matticks is On a Mission to Give Back, One Life-Saving Medication at a Time
For years, Dr. Rod Matticks and his wife Maria wanted to volunteer in a medical mission. Unfortunately, it is not easy to leave the country for weeks at a time with work and a family. Along with Dr. Matticks’ position as one of Wexford Health’s regional medical directors for the State of Illinois inmate health care contract, Maria is an early intervention professional development and training consultant with the University of Illinois. They are also proud parents to twin boys and a daughter.
Based on Dr. Matticks years of experience in correctional facilities, he knows that medications regularly go to waste for a number of reasons. This knowledge gave him an idea that turned into a meaningful way to help people in need. Inspired by biblical scripture, and wanting to lessen the waste of the unused medications and their potential effect on the environment, he and his wife started the non-profit organization Twelve Baskets Full, Inc. Twelve Baskets Full acquires unused medications from multiple prison and jail facilities in Illinois and West Virginia, as well as a few specialty pharmacies and long-term care facilities. Volunteers for Twelve Baskets Full review the shipments carefully. All medications that meet strict federal requirements are sorted according to type of medication and usage. Once each medication is logged and ready for distribution, these medication donations are sent out to medical missions around the world. Over the past two and a half years, Twelve Baskets Full has supported 32 medical missions in thirteen different third world countries, helping thousands of people.
“Here in the US, we think nothing of taking an Advil or Tylenol for minor aches and pains. There are people in third world countries that use these same over-the-counter drugs as their only pain reliever for major surgeries,” says Maria. On some occasions, Rod and Maria receive details on the adults and children being helped by the medical missions and donations from Twelve Baskets Full. One such story involves a young girl in Guatemala who suffers from seizures and could not go to school. A medical mission visited her village. She was seen by a physician who provided her Keppra, an extremely effective anti-seizure medication. Thanks to the medicine donated by Twelve Baskets Full, this young girl can now go to school, see her friends, and lead a healthier and happier life.
Moving forward, both Rod and Maria would like to see more medications come in that can work with unique medical needs. Around the world, there is a demand for medications that help with chronic health issues. Both are quick to say that while there is still room for growth and opportunity with their personal mission in Twelve Baskets Full, they are extremely thankful for all of the support they have received up to this point. “We recognize all of the hard work that health care staff in our partners in jails and prisons put into separating, collating, and preparing medication donations for the program. We are so appreciative for all of the work they do to help us fulfill this important work,” says Dr. Matticks.
As they continue to their work with Twelve Baskets Full and create an improved sustainability plan for the non-profit, they still have one more thing they hope to accomplish. “We would both really like to go on a medical mission someday,” says Maria. “We hope that down the road we can see a donation through from beginning to end. We would like to see your donations in action,” says Dr. Matticks.
Twelve Baskets Full can accept donations from any facility in the US. To inquire about donating medications from your facility, please contact Maria Matticks at mmatticks@12BasketsFull.org.