The Volunteer Voice
November 27, 2019

Dear Friends,

As the holidays are upon us, I always feel like it is a time to reflect. Many of my friends and family have had a challenging 2019 and it makes you realize life is short. One of my favorite sayings is “Dance like nobody’s watching. Love like you have never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening. Live like it’s heaven on earth." Sometimes that is easier said than done….I hope they, along with VIM's hard working staff, compassionate volunteers and generous supporters, find pleasure and fulfillment during this Thanksgiving holiday. 

On behalf of the staff and Board of VIM, we are incredibly thankful for all those in the community that understand the VIM mission and help us help our neighbors in need.
Below are a few recent patient cases of how VIM is making a difference in the lives of low income, working families.

Warmest Regards,

Kelly L. Ranieli
Executive Director
Medical Clinic Success Stories
Patient with Numerous Illnesses
A 54 year old Hispanic male came to VIM with a history of psoriasis, gout, and hypertension . The patient was using over the counter cream for psoriasis, but it was not helping. Dr. Kimmy Nguyen, Clinical Pharmacist at VIM, was able to get expensive Humira FREE through the Patient Assistance Program and within 3 months his skin was totally clear of any rash . The medical staff was also able to control his hypertension and cholesterol through numerous weekly visits. The patient also had severe gout and used a cane due to difficulty walking. After educating him on diet changes and modifying his medications, a significant decrease in his gout symptoms were apparent and he no longer required a cane to walk. The patient says " VIM changed his entire health and well being."
Hepatitis C Virus
VIM diagnosed a 45-year-old female with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). HCV is spread through contact with infected blood and if left untreated can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer . Fortunately, HCV can be cured but for the uninsured patient, costs associated with treatment including special labs and the price of medications are unattainable. Dr. Feudale, VIM Medical Director, in conjunction with the clinic's pharmacy team worked diligently to get free Zepatier. Zepatier is a once daily medication that is designed to cure HCV infection over a 12 week period. The cost to the patient (if VIM was not able to get free) would be $26,000 for a 3 month supply . This low income, uninsured patient would not have been able to afford the medication and could have ultimately developed liver disease.

Cure rates are high for HCV but there is always a risk of treatment failure. However, preliminary labs (provided free by VIM) show that this patient's viral load has vastly decreased from 5,740,000 million to <15 after only one month of treatment. The viral load is the amount of virus in a patient’s body. Cure is defined as a viral load of zero or an “undetected” level. This is a promising sign that the medication is successfully working . The patient is extremely thankful for all the effort that the staff provided to cure her of HCV.
Dental Clinic Success Stories
A New Smile for a Young Patient
A 28 year old woman was all smiles after she received her new dentures from the VIM dental clinic this week. She first came to the clinic in February of 2019 in severe pain from multiple abscesses . Due to the pain, she was limited on the amount of solid food she could eat for many, many months. The patient had never been to a dentist; so, unfortunately, numerous visits with extractions had to be done to get her out of pain. There was then a waiting period to get her gums to heal. The next step was taking impressions to ensure a perfect fit with dentures . After a few try-in visits, volunteer dentist, Dr. Carr was able to provide her comfortable dentures and ultimately a beautiful smile . She walked into the clinic in tears due to pain but walked out of the clinic smiling and ready to eat a Thanksgiving dinner!
Healthy Smile for a Healthy Start Program
As part of the Healthy Smile program, the VIM dental staff visits local daycares, nonprofits, libraries, public after-school programs and other organizations that host children to educate them on oral hygiene .

In 2018, the Clinic staff educated over 1900 children on the importance of brushing their teeth, visiting the dentist and eating healthy foods. Evaluations were also provided on the children by the VIM volunteer dentists. The goal of the program is to educate the caregiver and child to ensure they understand that good oral hygiene affects their overall health .
Donate to Volunteers in Medicine
VIM is not a federally-funded clinic and does not charge for services . The clinic operates solely from donations from businesses and individuals, grants from foundations and proceeds from special events. Any contribution you are able to make assists VIM with keeping our low-income neighbors healthy, well and working .
Let's Get Social!
Volunteers  in  Medicine 
 190 North Pennsylvania Avenue
Wilkes-Barre PA 18702
Phone: 570-970-2864 | Fax: 570-970-2868