Author Archives: Katrin Becker

Basic Health In the News: June 2017 [1]


Expedition doctor earns prestigious medical award – Cochrane Eagle

After three decades of helping people around the world, Cochrane Doctor Bill Hanlon is being awarded a prestigious medical award from Ireland that honours those who make exceptional contributions to medicine and society.
“We need to open up to other cultures and not build walls,” Hanlon said, after returning from a recent expedition to Russia.
“What I loved about this trip was it pares down things. You are selective on what you bring and it pares it down to the minimum. Food, shelter, health – the rest is just extra. If we took more to other people in the world, it would make a big difference and not really impact us here.”


Dr. Bill Awarded Ambassador of the Year

Community builders honoured with awards – Cochrane Eagle

Ambassador of the Year:
(Category Sponsor:  Cochrane Community Awards Committee)
Dr. William Hanlon

Community Awards Celebrate Cochrane’s Finest – CochraneNow

The Cochrane Community Awards were celebrated yesterday afternoon (May 28) at the RancheHouse.

An opportunity to recognize outstanding work by individuals, groups, and businesses for their hard work and efforts to make Cochrane a great community.

Valerie McCracken, Community Awards Chair, says it was another fabulous afternoon with smiles, cheers, applause, and even a few tears.

“I think every year we wonder how we’re going to continue to find people to recognize and acknowledge but again we had 13 absolutely deserving recipients. It was a great afternoon it had all the heartfelt recognition and a wonderful way to celebrate our community.”


Trip to Ireland – Awards and Connecting with School Kids May 2017

UCC Medical school medal awards on 24th May 2017

L to R: Prof Patrick O Shea (President University College Cork), Prof Ted Dinan (Prof Psychiatry UCC), Dr Bill Hanlon (2017 Medical School Medal recipient), Prof Mary Horgan (Dean Medical School UCC) : photo Donagh Glavin

School talk in Ireland (16 students total in school from 6-12 years!) on 26th May 2017

Baikal 2017 with great Russian friends!!

Sunrise Baikal 2017 & Other Celebrations

Some more  sights and sounds from Baikal.

Baykal Under Ice

These are some of the sights and sounds from Baikal.

Dr. Bill awarded medal honouring contributions to Medicine and Society

Quite an honour!

Presented by the College of Medicine and Health, University College Cork, Ireland

Medal letter_Bill O Hanlon

Cochrane doctor completes 720 km solo expedition across frozen Siberian lake | News Talk 770 (CHQR)

Source: Cochrane doctor completes 720 km solo expedition across frozen Siberian lake | News Talk 770 (CHQR)

Wrap Up – Part II

Wrap Up – Part II

Cochrane doctor returns from solo trek across world’s oldest lake | Calgary Herald

Meeting 62-year-old Dr. William Hanlon at his clinic in Cochrane, you wouldn’t guess the local family doctor recently conquered a 720 km walk across a frozen lake in Siberia. But Dr. Hanlon is no stranger to the extremes of nature. He completed the seven summits (including Mount Everest) in 2007, and just last year spent…

Source: Cochrane doctor returns from solo trek across world’s oldest lake | Calgary Herald

Wrap Up

Wrap Up

This has been a very special experience to get to travel on the surface of the oldest and deepest lake in the world, containing 20% of the worlds freshwater

With global warming and droughts happening in many parts of the world this increases the significance of Lake Baikal to us all across the globe
This issue in itself highlights the importance of international cooperation and dependence for the overall good of the planet

Back in Irkutsk

Travelling 24 hours a day on the surface of this dynamic place of shamans, mystics, tremendous natural beauty and energy allows one to reflect on what is important in life
Pearing things down to what we can carry or pull helps focus on the essentials in life to survive

Taking a long walk in this remote and beautiful place allowed conversations from the sled to reflect on the great caravans of people such as Marco Polo travelling long distances over a long time

Back in Moscow

Those caravans of travellers, pilgrims, artisans,traders moving back and forth from Europe, through Central/ South Asia to the Far East allowed a great mixing of cultures, languages, new ideas/inventions, produce, resources
Travel in my mind is the best classroom for education, tolerance, respect and compassion for other cultures

It is time to build more bridges in today’s world and less walls

Travelling solo in Siberia and other remote places over the years without a knowledge of the local language gives me a greater respect for the challenges and hurdles that new emigrants and refugees bear on coming to a new country

Working medically in remote communities over the past 30 years has given me so much more insight to how lucky we are in the western world to have high quality health care and reasonably good access and how challenged the most vulnerable particularly in the rest of the world……

So thanks to all of you for following the expedition and hanging in


Let’s see what the next year brings….

From Hobnails, Scellig and the rest of the team…..

To see the full photo gallery from this trip, look here.

Last Few Days in Siberia

Last Few Days in Siberia

Thanks to all the team members including Hobnails( feet and boots), Scellig the sled, Snowshoe the hare, Sally the stove, Tommy the tent, Freddy the food, Foxy the fuel and all the other support equipment for holding together to help bring the expedition to a conclusion

We look forward to receiving those drawings from all those kids and wanna be kids out there!

To see the full photo gallery from this trip, look here.

Off The Ice

Off The Ice

Had a lovely visit with friends and family of friends in Canada in Severobaikalsk on Day 23
Caught the 36 hour Irkutsk train at 10.20 pm
Time to rest this aging body, replenish the calories and reflect
A train in Siberia is no better place to do all of the above

Firstly I would like to thank family and friends, donors to Basic Health International Foundation for their great support and encouragement during this expedition and over the past 14 years since the foundation was established

Visiting family of Banff friends in Severobaikalsk

This expedition would not have happened and completed without the help of a large number of people including Katrin Becker who managed and set up the website
She helped immensely in keeping up the communications from such a remote location
Thanks also to Jim Parker for putting up with those any time of day calls from the ice

Thanks to MEC for their sponsorship and Icespikes for their support and their “Hobnails”

Thanks for technical support from the following:
Eugene, Anna, Evgeny,Rene(Siberia)

Clare O Leary, Mike O Shea, Gavin Hennigan (Ireland)

Elena Vandakurova, Kevin Vallaly, Ray Zahab, Serge Touchinski, Vitaly, Gil Grandahl, Hank van Weeldon, Steve Rothfels(meteorologist) ( Canada)

Transportation : Peter Schledermann (Canada)
Vincent Hanlon (Ireland)

And any other contributor that I may have forgotten

Thanks to the spirits of Baikal for allowing the team safe passage in this magical place

To see the full photo gallery from this trip, look here.

Day 23 – Nizhneangarsk

Day 23
Distance traveled: Approx 720 Km
Location: Nizhneangarsk

At 1.30 pm local time today on Day 23 of the Basic Health International Foundation Lake Baikal Expedition. Hobnails,Scellig and the rest of the team arrived at the northern tip of the lake!!

We are thrilled and humbled by the experience.

Will forward more information
and photos over the next few days.

Looking forward to meeting some locals friends and families of friends here in Severobaikalsk before taking the 36 hour train back to Irkutsk.

Thanks all for following.

Will continue to post until leave Siberia.

To see the full photo gallery from this trip, look here.