Shannon Burford might have taken the road less travelled – spending seven years backpacking and subsisting on $2 per day – but this soul- searching journey has led him to where he is today.
A trained clinical naturopath and medical herbalist, the Australian experienced poor health during his growing up years. And during his travels in India, his health hit a low point and he spent considerable time in an Indian hospital. Those experiences taught him never to take his health for granted and inspired him to help others achieve good health as well. Today, he is literally practising what he preaches by connecting patients with natural healing therapies.
Shannon began working in a gold-mining laboratory job straight after graduating from university. However, it wasn’t a fit and after six months, he made a decision that would change his path …. to travel abroad for at least a year.
That one year turned to seven. He traversed places like Indonesia and India. He found himself fending off bedbugs and surviving on a few dollar per day. But it was only travelling in Cambodia that he was shaken by the extreme levels of poverty he was experiencing.
He realized how big of an impact access to clean water and sanitation could have in relieving poverty. His passion and connection with goal #6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) seems to be a natural result.
Shannon recounted a poignant memory about a woman begging for food with a baby in her arms – a clear image that has stuck with him to this very day.
“She was desperate for milk formula for her baby and the baby only had one eye and I could only pray for a better basic level of medical care for such people,” he said.
However, at the same time, he felt helpless and wondered how his small efforts could change the impoverished situation.
He decided to return to his hometown, Perth in Australia.
But he said: The time and experience in Cambodia left me with bigger questions of how I could get the ball rolling to help make changes in the world.
RECHARGED AND RENEWED
With a renewed sense of purpose, Shannon embarked on a second bachelor’s degree in health sciences and thereafter opened his clinic, Cura Integrative Medicine, in Perth.
Knowing that every patient he helps is creating a ripple effect, as good health will also bring joy to the patients’ loved ones and people around them is the fuel for his motivation and dedication.
“Can you think to a time when your day just went by so slowly because you were in a zone of peace and absolute joy in the moment of what you were doing?” said Shannon.
“If I keep my eye on the bigger picture of not only those patients sitting in front of me, but the greater ripple of helping a greater sphere of people, I just live in the zone every second”.
Nevertheless, even as he started his own clinic and got his business up and running, the plight of others living in poverty was never far from his mind.
He holds a belief that everyone in the world should have a basic level of good health. And if he has to choose one key to that, Shannon said the right to clean water is that key.
Armed with this conviction, he decided to support projects around the globe that help people gain access to good health and clean water.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE, ONE AT A TIME
Shannon started his journey with B1G1 in 2012 to kickstart the giving culture in his organisation.
Despite his busy schedule, he found it easy to integrate giving into his every day responsibilities.
He said: “Every couple of days, I logon to the webpage, make a few clicks and then I have contributed to multiple projects in multiple countries”.
Cura currently gives to health-related projects ranging from water initiatives to providing Vitamin A to prevent blindness in children. Shannon frequently aligns his giving with each patient. For example, if a patient is being treated for fertility issues, the giving is linked to a project that supports pregnant women.
Shannon urges business owners to take small steps and not be daunted at the huge prospect of changing the world.
For starters, this could mean finding ways to reduce water contamination or conserve more water at home and at the workplace. The next step then could be micro-giving to projects that support the sustainable management of water.
He added: “if every single small, medium and large business contributed to projects that aligned with their values, we could overcome global inequalities. It all starts with the first steps as individuals which then are magnified into much bigger things”.
Shannon also attests to the fact that running an organisation with a social purpose is a win-win because the impact created inspires the growth of the business too.
Sharing his dreams for the future, the father of two hopes for Cura to play a part in helping children all round the world to achieve good health.
“I’m passionate about healthy children and if I can help them thrive early then they can have a better chance of helping more people too by living their dreams out,” he said.
Cura Integrative Medicine is B1G1 Legacy Maker for the week of 8 April 2019. By sponsoring the B1G1 giving space for a week, Cura Integrative Medicine has enabled thousands of giving impacts to be created around the world.