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March 19th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

She's 'Indiana Jones, Mother Teresa, Susan Sarandon' to Peru's poor

By Kathleen Toner, CNN

Iquitos, Peru (CNN) – Nearly 21 years ago, Patty Webster landed her dream job as an adventure tour guide in the Peruvian Amazon. But as she shared the area's beauty and culture with tourists, she realized there was a darker side to the rainforest paradise.

"I saw how poor they were and realized that people were dying because they didn't have medical care," Webster said.

She started sharing her supplies with the locals and soon began waking up to find people waiting outside her mosquito net to ask her for medicine. At one point, Webster - who had no medical training - gave someone stitches, following instructions from a book.

"It was kind of scary," she recalled. "If they're depending on me for their health care ... we're all going to die."

That's when she decided to stay and do something more.

Since 1993, Webster has been bringing medical relief to some of Peru's poorest and most remote areas through her nonprofit, now known as Amazon Promise.

Webster - described by a visiting doctor as "sort of a cross between Indiana Jones and Mother Teresa and Susan Sarandon" - and her volunteers have provided free health care and education to more than 55,000 people. FULL STORY

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