BREATHING NEW HOPE
Teresa Raley is someone who cherishes each breath. Having spent years dealing with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema, she knows first-hand what it’s like to struggle to do even the simplest of tasks, such as pick up her two-year-old grandchild.
Breathing New Hope: The Apopka Community Lung Clinic
“Even doing dishes, I’d have to sit down part way through,” she says. But with no insurance and no access to medication, Teresa struggled just to get through the day.
Then she walked into The Apopka Community Lung Clinic. The warm and helpful team assessed her and helped her access free medication. “It saved my life. There was no way I could have afforded that medication,” Teresa says.
Opening in 2013 with the help of more than 200 volunteers, the Apopka Community Lung Clinic helped 143 patients breathe well again last year.
Teresa is one of many patients who depend on The Apopka Community Lung Clinic, a free clinic dedicated to serving uninsured patients with asthma, wheezing, shortness of breath, cough, bronchitis, upper respiratory infections, pneumonia and COPD.
“We help uninsured and underinsured people get their inhalers and other medication they need because it’s very expensive,” says Nurse Practitioner Sherri Ferguson. “Without them they cannot get relief from their shortness of breath, which could lead to a visit to an ER. That’s what we’re trying to prevent but we’re also about giving them a better quality of life. People who can’t breath well can’t really live their lives and it’s very alarming not to be able to breathe.”
The clinic, which also provides education and smoking cessation classes, started about a year ago and runs with the help of over 200 volunteers who saw 143 patients during the clinic’s first year.
Diana Lopez was one such patient who came to the clinic with asthma and bronchitis. “I just wasn’t getting any oxygen,” she says. But since the clinic helped her access medication, things are much better. “I can breathe. I can go out and walk. I don’t wake up at night coughing as much. This is the only lifeline for so many people.”
For more information on Apopka Community Lung Clinic please visit floridahospital.com/community-lung-clinic.