News

WE HAVE BIG NEWS!

We are so pleased to officially announce that by the end of this year, our 40th year of serving the community, the Clinic will be moving into a new facility. This big move will enable the expansion of our programs and services while allowing for overall better care for our low-income, uninsured patients.DSC_0031.1

We have dubbed this critical initiative the Building a Healthy Community Campaign to signify that this is an effort that will not only benefit the community overall, but requires the support of our beloved community as well!

Please join us in celebrating this monumental next step for our organization and in thanking the contributors who have helped support this endeavor!

More information to come! Visit www.clearwaterfreeclinic.org/cc to make your three year pledge today.

 

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Patient Story: Paula

“I have lived in Clearwater with my husband Harald and our daughter Ashleigh for the past 19 years. I am 60 years old and Herald is 63. When we first moved to Florida I knew we were going to buy a house and remain in that house throughout our retirement years. I first found work with the Pinellas County School system. I was happy to have good health care benefits and I became the primary benefit holder for our family.

A friend called me one day and said there was an opening at a Charter School in Dunedin, Academie Da Vinci, a school for the arts. I thought this would be a great opportunity for me, but leaving the school system was a tough decision and meant giving up the Florida Retirement pension and making some changes in the way Herald and I chose our health care coverage. Who was going to cover our family? I decided to take the risk and take a position at Academie Da Vinci as an Office Manager. Herald would now be the one to carry the responsibility of the family’s health care benefits.

Years went by, 12 years in fact, and in the meantime Harald and I were planning our retirement. Harald would retire at 62 and I would remain at my job until I turned 63. By the time I retired, Harald would be receiving Medicare benefits and we would pay out of pocket for my health care coverage.

DSC_0102 (2)

In May of 2016, Harald retired. He adopted Cobra coverage and I took health insurance with my job. Unfortunately, our plan did not work out. As of July 1, 2016 I was no longer employed at Academie Da Vinci. I was left with no health care coverage and looking at the prospect of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Harald had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June of 2015 and takes insulin shots twice per day.

I became depressed and my weight began to skyrocket. I had no desire to do anything and I was searching for a solution. I had never been without health care before and, like so many in this community, I found myself wondering, how did this happen to me and what am I going to do?

One morning, my sister Michele called. She said, “Get dressed. I’m taking you to the Clearwater Free Clinic.” Michele knew of the Clinic because the doctor she works for had treated quite a few patients referred to him by the Clinic. I really didn’t feel at all like getting dressed and thought there was no way I could actually get treated by a doctor for free.

The first thing I did was look at the Clinic’s website. It said free health care. All you have to do is make a donation: whatever you can afford. I actually couldn’t believe it.

I got all of my documentation together and off we went. When we arrived, the first person who greeted us was so friendly, made me feel so comfortable, that I immediately breathed a sigh of relief. I had never imagined myself being in this position needing a helping hand. I just needed a hand up, not a hand out.

 

Maybe I could get the help I needed – just maybe.

I filled out the paperwork and provided my documentation and as it turned out, I qualified and was going to be able to see a doctor that day. I was not expecting this and had no cash on me for a donation. Little did I know, my sister had already made a donation on my behalf.

My mind was racing. I couldn’t believe there was a place I could go for my medicine, make a donation that I could afford, and see a doctor. I immediately started thinking how I could give back to this extraordinary program. After all, it is run only through donations. Donations from people who care about people like me.

Since that first day, I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I am now on three different medications, all of which I get from the Clinic. I am also seeing a nutritionist who has helped me to lose 22 pounds (and counting!) and a behavioral health specialist who has helped me with my depression. Among these services, I have also received blood work, a mammogram and a pap smear.

Harald and I were even invited to join a Go Healthy class. This program consisted of a two hour meeting one day per week for a total of six weeks. Mary and Gloria, our instructors, became fast friends. We learned so much about the self-management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, depression, asthma and other physical and mental conditions.

I’m happy to say that the Clearwater Free Clinic has given me the inspiration I need to take better care of my health. I know that I am important. I am important enough that people have made donations to this very worthy cause to help people like me. With very heartfelt thanks to the donors, the staff and the volunteers at the Clinic, my husband and I are very grateful.”

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Patient Story: Rick

DSC_0048Rick can hardly remember a time before the Clearwater Free Clinic. A longtime fisherman in the Clearwater area, access to affordable health insurance through his work was not a luxury that he was allowed. He first sought out the Clinic’s care a few years ago when he was between jobs and ineligible for government programs, like Medicare. He knew he needed medical care, and he knew just where he could get it.

“The Clearwater Free Clinic staff and volunteers always treat you with respect, not like you are looking for a hand out,” he gushes. He recalls a time when he frequented a free clinic in another state and often felt belittled by those that were supposed to be caring for him and his family. Thankfully, his experience at the Clearwater Free Clinic would be one that would change his mind about the kind of care individuals and families can receive at free clinics.

Upon arriving at the Clinic with hopes to receive treatment for another chronic condition, Clinic nurse practitioner Jan along with one of our trusted volunteer cardiologists decided to refer him to a specialist. Rick was diagnosed with arrhythmia, a potentially dangerous heart condition. Through the Clinic, he was able to receive medications to help regulate his condition and even receive preventative care, like prostate exams and follow up appointments.

Now insured through Medicaid, he remains the self-proclaimed biggest fan of the Clearwater Free Clinic. He now trusts the Clinic with his daughter’s health care needs; she is one of our newest patients and will likely be treated by some of the same nurses and doctors that provided him with the superior health care that improved his quality of life.

 

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Spring 2017 Newsletter!

2017 sping newsletter_Page_1
read on >

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Volunteer Spotlight: Welcome Back Demetra!

When we meet a volunteer that comes back to help time and time again, they deserve to be recognized. Demetra began as a Clinic volunteer six years ago as a high school sophomore. Since then, she’s become a University of Florida Gator and has made her return to the Clinic a rising college senior as a clerical intern. She is focusing her studies on Chemistry, and we can’t help but think we have something to do with her decision to minor in Health Disparities!

When asked what keeps her coming back to the Clinic, she says it’s the special connection with the patients here. “The dynamic between patients and the Clinic is remarkable. Knowing that without the Clinic, they would not otherwise be able to receive care allows us to shine as a beacon of hope for them.” Demetra loves spreading the message of the Clinic to those in her church community and has quite the soft spot for our mission and those we serve. Thank you for all that you do!

DSC_0078

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Painting for a Cause!

PaintTwist_Invite

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

The Clearwater Free Clinic Celebrates Doctors’ Day

2017 DD1-01

Thursday, March 30th, is “National Doctors’ Day”…a day of celebration established to recognize physicians and the many contributions they make each day. When sick or in pain, in body or mind, we seek the help of doctors to heal us. Often times, we may not recognize all of the efforts and accomplishments of our doctors as they work to keep us healthy. It is difficult to imagine what society would be like without doctors of all kinds to care for us when we need them.

Did you know that last year, there were 922 million visits to physicians in America? The Clearwater Free Clinic invites you to celebrate the doctors in your life and let them know how much you value their medical expertise, kindness, compassion, or simple willingness to listen.

Say thank you by making a donation to the Clearwater Free Clinic in their honor and the Clinic will send an acknowledgment(s) of your gratitude.

To which doctor(s) would you like to give an extra dose of gratitude on this Doctors’ Day 2017?

What better way to honor a physician than to provide medical care to those in need? Fill out the below form and make a donation today!

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Give Day Tampa Bay Save the Date: May 2nd, 2017

Give Day Tampa Bay is at it again this year with a brand new website and even bigger goals! Give Day Tampa Bay 2016 was able to raise $2.1 million for 595 local nonprofits that make Tampa Bay a better place to be. On top of that large figure, $123,000 in prizes went to participating nonprofits as well! Not to mention all of this fundraising happens in only 24 hours… Impressive to say the least.

giveday_SaveTheDate

The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay offers this giving opportunity to draw attention to the work of hundreds of local nonprofits and to help them raise funds online. The Clearwater Free Clinic is proud to be a part of this event and to be able to make such a difference in our community every single day.

Join us on May 2nd, 2017 and help support the Clearwater Free Clinic and many hundreds of other area nonprofits through this online fundraising event! More details to come!

 

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Put Your Best Fork Forward!

2017-02-27 20.47.19March is National Nutrition Month® and the Clearwater Free Clinic is kicking off this year with our volunteer nutritionist, Linda Alegarbes. Linda provides nutritional counseling to uninsured patients here at the Clinic and she sure is appreciated by staff and patients!

The food that we put into our bodies matters. We all have the choice to fuel our bodies with good, healthful foods or not to. The truth is, creating healthy habits can prevent disease and help us to live happier and longer lives.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has dubbed 2017’s National Nutrition Month® campaign “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” Making just small shifts in our food choices can add up over time. It can even be fun to experiment with healthy ingredients in home cooking and find new ways to stay physically active. Of course, it can also be helpful to consult an RDN, like Linda Alegarbes, to provide sound, personal nutrition advice that fits your lifestyle.

 

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Random Act of Kindness Week 2017

RAKWeek_kindness_is_contagious

Starting this week of February 12th – 18th, we will be celebrating Random Act of Kindness Week! The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has created this celebration of positivity to turn the world kind. We are kicking off #RAKWeek2017 with a bang here at the clinic, and this certainly isn’t difficult to do with such wonderful patients, volunteers and staff. It takes just one simple, thoughtful action such as a smile or a “Hello!” to turn someone’s day around and create a chain reaction of kindness.

At the Clearwater Free Clinic, we strive each day to provide life-changing healthcare to the uninsured in our community. We sure love our patients, especially because they are so grateful for the care they are able to receive by our dedicated volunteers and staff. Not only does kindness decrease pain and stress, but it also can increase energy, happiness and even your lifespan!

So what are you waiting for? Join us this week and share your #RAKWeek2017 story, and even challenge your family and friends to do the same. Together, we can turn the world kind. Stay tuned all week for more kindness facts and stories!

 

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn