Free Medical Care At State Fair Grounds

COLUMBIA (WACH) - "I was stunned to find out there was nothing for me and so when there was this, I was so grateful for it." says Charlyn McNeill.

Charlyn is talking about the South Carolina Mission 2013 Midlands program going on at the State Fair Grounds. The program provides medical and eye care at no cost, and no one is being turned away.

"All of the services are free. They're for - we say for folks that are uninsured. We don't check to see what anybody has. We are taking care of anybody who shows up." states Barbara Willm, the Vice President of Community Relations at Lexington Medical Center.

If it turns out you need a follow up visit somewhere else afterwards, the different hospitals participating in the program will put you in touch with a charity program to help minimize any cost. However, some specialized services are already available on site.

"This is the first year we've been able to offer pap smear screening because we were able to coerce a group of our pathology colleagues into volunteering their services. They're going to interpret the smears and my office has agreed to follow up on any that may be abnormal." explains Dr. Leon Bullard, the Medical Director for SC Mission 2013 Midlands.

All the doctors ask is that you provide valid contact information so they can get in touch with you if they need to. Along with providing all this free medical care, volunteers in the program also give people who come out the respect they deserve.

"They don't make you feel like you're a 'poor person.' They make you feel right at home and they're very nice. I love it." says Charlyn.

And there is absolutely no shame in needing some help now and then.

"I was so embarassed the first year. And I've learned that not having things or money is just things. It's the people that count." confides Charlyn.

The program is being held on Friday, August 2nd, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is also being held on Saturday, August 3rd, from 6 a.m. to noon. Anyone over the age of 17 is welcome to come out.