NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Early Monday morning a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria. Dr. Aslihan Spaulding, a professor at Illinois State University, immediately texted her parents who live in Turkey.

“They are not on the epicenter but sometimes you can feel far away. Thank God they were safe,” she said. “But they were still sleeping at the time, so I didn’t hear back from them for a couple hours. I was just hoping that they’re just sleeping, they’re okay and the first thing in the morning I got a text message from them.”

Spaulding wasn’t the only one worried about her family.

“There are 12 Turkish faculty on campus. We all communicated with each other immediately as soon as we found out about the earthquake. So we are checking on each other, checking on their families. Thank God they’re okay too,” said Spaulding.

While her family is safe, Spaulding has two childhood friends who have been displaced by the earthquake.

“You feel real hopeless and helpless and heartbroken. So emotional. And what can I do? There’s nothing I can do from this far away,” she said. “It’s tough. It’s very tough. Being far away from your family you can’t do anything for them. It’s always been tough but this is even tougher.”

Spaulding said it’s nice to see all of the international help that victims of the earthquake are receiving and encourages others to find ways to help.

“The world is coming together to help. It’s something you want to see everyday,” said Spaulding.