SC Mission 2011: Midlands begins

Today is the first day of SC Mission 2011: Midlands, an event that is bringing together local health care providers to provide free medical, vision and dental care to South Carolina's uninsured.

The doors of the Carolina Coliseum in Columbia opened at 6 a.m. for the patients, many of whom had been waiting since early yesterday. Barbara, 62, of Columbia, was the first person in line, arriving around 10 a.m. yesterday to ensure that she would be seen first. A retired CNA without health insurance, she only seeks medical care when it is absolutely necessary.

"I don't go unless I am sick," she said. "And thank God I am healthy."

Barbara, whose first priority is to have two teeth extracted, said that she would seek all services that are available to her. She hasn't seen a physician on a regular basis since she retired about five years ago.

Her sentiment was echoed by the 50 or so other people who had lined up at the Coliseum by 9 p.m. on Thursday in chairs along the Assembly Street side.

"I'm so thankful that everyone has come together for this," Charles of Columbia said.  

More than 1,200 clinical and nonclinical volunteers will donate their time at the two-day event.

This is the first time this event is being held in the Midlands. A similar event was held in Greenville last year and about 2,000 patients were helped.

"We don't know how many patients we will see during the event," said Jenny Greenhaugh, RN. "We are prepared to see about 5,000 patients."


08-05-2011 06:52 (EDT)