Success Stories: Chapter 3 – Mission of Mercy
This month, we are featuring 3-time Qlarant grantee, Mission of Mercy. This organization’s mission is to restore dignity and “healing through love” at mobile clinics, providing free health care and medications.
Mission of Mercy’s patients are the uninsured and underinsured; those who do not have access to health care or cannot afford the care that they are able to access. The organization’s doctors strive to prevent costly emergency room visits by treating patients’ chronic conditions before they become life threatening. Mission of Mercy takes a holistic approach to healing their patients’ bodies by coordinating with safety net providers to ensure that patients receive the additional help they need.
Each of the Mission of Mercy’s clinics is a mobile primary care doctor’s office, fully equipped with registration and triage performed by dedicated volunteers and nurses. Licensed physicians perform careful and compassionate examinations to treat both acute and chronic illnesses. While the mobile clinics can perform some on-site tests, patients requiring additional tests, such as x-rays, ultrasounds and laboratory work, are referred to community doctors and hospitals, which provide their services to Mission of Mercy patients free of charge.
Mission of Mercy, affectionately known as “MoM”, touches the lives of an incredible number of patients, providing over 7,000 patient visits in its mobile clinics each year. MoM has provided life-saving services to a host of grateful patients as evidenced by this month’s Success Stories.
Our first Story is about Bryan, a Mission of Mercy Miracle child.
On a blustery, bone-chilling, December morning, nurse Glenda Fuller faithfully arrived for her volunteer duties at Mission of Mercy’s free clinic. Her smiling face and energetic persona masked the fact that she had just completed an overnight shift at the local hospital. It was a blessing that she had energy to spare as she was about to experience a “Mission of Mercy miracle”.
As patients began arriving, a young boy was brought to the clinic in the arms of his father. Glenda recognized the boy as Bryan, an 11-year old that had been to Mission of Mercy a few months prior for an upper respiratory infection. But this time was different. He was pale, unresponsive, and had no energy to walk on his own. Glenda triaged him immediately and he was rushed onto the mobile, medical unit. MoM’s chief medical director, Dr. Sullivan, a volunteer physician from the emergency room of the local hospital, jumped into action. The volunteer medical providers collectively determined that Bryan was in dire need of hospitalization and might possibly have leukemia.
Dr. Sullivan dialed Children’s Hospital in D.C. and called upon the expertise of one of his colleagues. He explained Bryan’s symptoms adding that the child had no insurance and was not fluent in English. His colleague suggested getting Bryan to Children’s Hospital as soon as possible. To expedite the process, Glenda, who also spoke the family’s language, agreed to transport Bryan and his father in her own vehicle.
The emergency room physician quickly jotted down the directions to the hospital (Glenda did not have a GPS) and off they went. Shortly into the drive, Glenda cracked her window with the directions in hand and, of course, out they flew! Frantically she called back to Mission of Mercy. As she was again receiving directions, she was cut off by an ambulance. As she was recounting this experience the emergency room doctor asked, “Does the ambulance have a teddy bear on the back of it?” Checking the rear of the ambulance she said, “It does!”. The doctor replied, “Follow it – it is going to Children’s.”
She risked it and shortly after, they all arrived safely. Bryan was quickly seen by the specialist who, after running tests, determined that the child did not have leukemia. Another specialist, from NIH who was on rounds that day, determined that Bryan had aplastic anemia and accepted him into his study group! Bryan’s life was saved through the love, caring, and compassion of Glenda and those physicians who answered the call to help a young boy who was gravely ill and disenfranchised.
Our next Success Story is in the form of a letter from a woman named Pam who came to MoM when she was desperately in need of help.
For the first time in my life, I found myself needing to reach out for help. I had been in a company layoff and, although I was collecting unemployment for the first time in my life, healthcare was my biggest concern. I had switched meds to generics and even cut a couple out so I could afford to get by. Then, I started having pain in my lower back. It progressed to my hips, down my legs and even down my arms a few times. I found myself in pain 24/7 and I didn’t know what to do. Then I found Mission of Mercy through Frederick Memorial Hospital. During my first visit to Mission of Mercy, I was given prednisone for inflammation. Although my discomfort was still there, I was able to get up, walk around and do a few everyday things without pain. I was and am so grateful!
I can’t even describe the burden that has been lifted. My spirits have risen and I am no longer afraid that I have to live in pain and even die because of my temporary inability to obtain medical assistance or medication that I’ve had to take for years. When I am back on my feet again, I will definitely make some donations. I have seen first-hand what a blessing Mission of Mercy can and does to provide for people in need.
Thank you so much for having an organization that provides such a needed service.
Pam’s Success Story rings true for many people who have gone through a period of job loss. Continuing a standard of living quickly takes a back seat to simply living without medical issues when standard medications can no longer be afforded. Mission of Mercy provides those in need with options when it may appear there are none.
Our final MoM Success Story is about Virginia who was suffering from a variety of illnesses.
After Virginia’s heart attack, she needed regular medical check-ups to monitor her pulse, blood pressure and other vital signs, and to chart her progress on three different medications. Virginia, 66, found the care she needed at Mission of Mercy’s free mobile health clinic that stops at Reisterstown United Methodist Church twice each month. “I think it’s great,” said Virginia, who lives in Reisterstown. “It’s good for me because it’s close by, and everybody up there is nice.” A diabetic, Virginia occasionally has circulation problems in her legs, and clinic staffers keep a close watch on her condition. Virginia’s husband, Charles, 75, takes her to the clinic about once a month, she says. He receives his medical care from the Veterans Administration. As her only source of health care, the free clinic has been vital to Virginia and to Charles, who are both retired and live on a fixed income.
Founded by Dr. Gianna Talone-Sullivan, Mission of Mercy is now in its 25th year of providing free healthcare, dental care and prescription medications to the uninsured and underinsured and those who “fall through the cracks” of the healthcare system. Churches are frequent clinic host sites and hospitals provide free lab and x-ray. Mission of Mercy does not rely on government support. Funding is generated from foundations like Qlarant, corporations, churches, civic groups, individuals and special events.
The work that the Mission of Mercy does is very much appreciated by its clients and volunteers. To close this edition of Success Stories, here are a few of their quotes:
A grateful patient wrote “When you have no options, no money, no job, no health insurance/benefits and no one to turn to, Mission of Mercy becomes your very personal lifesaver. When life throws you that hurtful and devastating hard, hard curve ball, it’s organizations like Mission of Mercy that are the only blessing between survival and death. Please know that the word “death” is not an over-dramatization. As a woman with Type 1 Diabetes, Mission of Mercy saved my life and enabled me to obtain my insulin and address other health issues. Almost more importantly for me at the time, was that the Mission of Mercy workers represented “care” in my life, which was in very short supply during that difficult time.”
A volunteer, Sharon O’Connor, RN said “I help Mission of Mercy because it allows me to use my 48 years of nursing experience to help others and pass on things I have learned that might help others, while assisting my co-workers and community in any way I can.”
To sum it up, Pat Boos, Qlarant Marketing Director, says “That is why Qlarant Foundation has been proud to provide Mission of Mercy with a grant award. Every person who is involved with this group approaches their task to ensure their clients are well treated. And the key word here: Dignity. There are many healthcare facilities that support those in need, but few do it with the passion and integrity we see with Mission of Mercy.”