Portraits of Health is a campaign inspired by the visions of hope we see at our mobile health clinics. Each Portrait of Health highlights someone who has benefited from our free dental, vision, and general medical care that they could not otherwise access.
How far do you drive to the doctor? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? How would you feel if your nearest doctor was one hour or more away? Unfortunately, for Sherry Dale who attended our Grundy, Virginia medical clinic in September, this is a sad reality. Every year, for the past 8 years, Sherry has traveled an hour from Lebanon, Virginia to get the care she and her family need.
Sherry confided, “I don’t know what we would do without Remote Area Medical because we rely on their work. It is part of our medical care. If we did not have it, we would not get care.”
Sherry has medical insurance but has trouble paying the $250 premiums and $10,000 deductible set by her insurance company. Due to this extremely high deductible, Sherry has accumulated unpaid medical bills, which has made it impossible for her to be seen by a doctor.
“At RAM, they treat you like a person instead of a number,” states Sherry, who also has attended our Wise, Virginia clinic. She took her children to have their teeth cleaned, and her son was able to utilize the vision area to obtain a vital pair of glasses.
When asked about the volunteers who sacrifice their time to help at each clinic, Sherry exclaimed, “God bless you and thank you so much. I mean that from the bottom of my heart!”
At our most recent clinic in Bradenton, Florida we met a young man named Lencz Sully Ralph Laurent. Lencz moved to the United States in 2012 after an earthquake ravaged his home country of Haiti. He was trapped under rubble following the earthquake for two days until he was saved by a United States Marine.
The marine who saved Lencz’s left an undeniable impression on him, and he aspired to one day become a marine. “I don’t give up on dreams,” he said. Lencz also has aspirations to one-day give back to his community by becoming a fireman – a goal also attributed to the man who saved him. “The marine who pulled me out and saved my life from the rubble was a firefighter.”
We met Lencz waiting in the clinic’s dental care line. He hoped to have his wisdom teeth pulled. He came to the Bradenton clinic last year but was unable to be seen by a dentist. Required to decide between dental and vision care due to high demand, time constraints, and volunteer count, he chose vision care.
Lencz had been in pain for close to a year waiting on the clinic to return. He currently has no dentist or doctor. “Some people wouldn’t come again, but I would come because I don’t quit,” he said.
Lencz attends school at the host site of the Bradenton clinic, Manatee Technical College, and plans on graduating in March of 2017 with a degree in Collision Repair and Refinishing.
The underlying theme of our talk with Lencz seemed to suggest most people have no idea how their actions can affect another person’s life. The marine who saved him may not have a clue that he gave hope to this young man, not to mention a goal in life. Just as many RAM volunteers and generous donors may have no idea how life-altering their generosity is to so many people.
Regarding volunteers, Lencz said, “Thank you for your service! You could be doing so many other things right now, but chose to be here.”
This young boy’s mom brought him to RAM’s clinic in Pharr, Texas, to get an eye exam and be fitted for a new pair of eyeglasses. He was so excited to wear his new glasses that once he put them on he did not want to take them off!
To make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and families who live in impoverished areas and cannot access basic medical care, click below today.