top of page

The Legacy Trip

Giving Back to Those We Serve

The Legacy Trip is an annual one-week humanitarian trip to Give Kids The World Village in Florida. Medical students work with children who have life-limiting conditions and their families, giving back to the future communities they will serve as physicians.

Highlight Reels

Watch the highlight reel from our 2024 trip!

Watch the highlight reel from our 2023 trip!


The Legacy Trip - A  Reflection

By Andy Guymon, MS IV
University of South Dakota, Sanford School of Medicine

I signed up for The Legacy Trip to learn from the experiences of children and their families who grew up vastly different from me. However, the trip proved to be much more than just a knowledge exercise. Knowing about the challenges others face is one thing, but emotionally connecting with them is another. Traditional research often confines you to the former. The Legacy Trip not only informed me about the specific barriers many people face but also allowed me to empathize with children and their families, undoubtedly changing how I will practice medicine.

Before meeting the families and children, I began developing my understanding by reviewing the literature. The studies on how children with complex medical needs affect family dynamics were eye-opening. While we often think of the challenges these circumstances place on families, many studies identified a mixture of both positive and negative consequences. Some siblings of children with complex medical needs may experience unique challenges that inhibit their social acceptance, while others develop higher levels of empathy and kindness. Similarly, some siblings might struggle academically due to unusual living conditions, such as frequently providing daily grooming and personal hygiene for their sibling with complex medical needs, while others learn to manage increased responsibilities at an early age in life. The literature provided no clear consensus on whether the challenges of living with a sibling with complex medical needs positively or negatively impacted the growth and development of other family members.

Throughout The Legacy Trip, I grew to know a father, David, whose teenage child, Olivia, attended Give Kids The World as a Wish Kid a few years prior and had since passed away. I listened as he recited stories about Olivia and David’s brother Brian, both of whom had a severe version of Down Syndrome. He shared how he was responsible for helping brush Brian’s teeth, change his diapers, and care for him at school because his parents were stretched thin. David knew all of Olivia’s habits—the way she walked, talked, and how The Little Mermaid made her squeal with joy. Despite their early passing, it was evident that Brian and Olivia were loved just like I love my family. They were fun, loving, adorable, unique just like us, and like all children at times - frustrating.

On The Legacy Trip, if you take notice of the little things, you will find many gems of life-changing interactions like this. Moments like these made me feel small walking the streets of Peppermint Lane, not because of the grand gingerbread castle beside me, but because I was walking amongst heroes whose hearts and character exhibited the best of us. These children authentically wore their hearts on their sleeves through shouts of joy and temper tantrums alike. While many adults attend Disney World for their own enjoyment, these parents were there out of sacrificial love for their children.

This trip profoundly impacted how I will practice medicine. I learned to recognize the challenges that children with complex medical needs and their families face every day. My eyes were opened to the radiant life these children exhibited, and my heart was warmed by the selfless love siblings and parents showed for each other. I developed a deeper appreciation for these children and families. Before attending The Legacy Trip, I would have claimed to value all children equally, but this experience made that belief resonate in my heart. I will treat all my patients with more patience, compassion, and kindness, because you never know the challenges someone faces outside of the OR and clinic.

The Legacy Trip was a transformative experience that went beyond academic learning. It fostered deep emotional connections, enriched my understanding of family dynamics, and inspired me to practice medicine with greater empathy and compassion. The lessons learned and the stories shared will forever shape my approach to patient care, ensuring that I treat everyone with the respect and kindness they deserve.

Thank You to Our Trip Sponsors!

The Legacy Trip cannot be made possible without the generous contributions of our sponsors. Thank you for your support!

Hueser Grain Logo.png
NW Energy.png
Edward Jones.png
bottom of page