Laughing and learning for a good cause

TUPELO – There’s just no telling what will happen when Dr. David Irwin is roasted next month.
“You can expect a night full of the unexpected,” said Cindy Sparks, president and clinic administrator of the Antone Tannehill Good Samaritan Free Clinic, which will benefit from the seventh annual fundraiser on June 9.
“There will be lots of surprises and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot of things we didn’t know about Dr. Irwin,” Sparks said. “It will be a wonderful, entertaining night.”
Irwin is a cardiologist at Cardiology Associates of North Mississippi. “His firm has been a big supporter of the clinic for several years,” said Cathy Robertson, chairman of the clinic’s board.
If this year’s event is like those in the past, there may be some embarrassing stories told by the honoree’s colleagues, Robertson said. “But it is a lot of fun and it’s for a great cause.”
Roast organizers expect to raise at least $70,000. They’re optimistic about the goal, considering the current state of the economy that also is driving their caseload up.
“We have seen a real increase, because of the economy, in the number of people that either have temporarily lost their jobs or their benefits have changed and they’ve lost healthcare,” Robertson said.
Located on Magazine Street in downtown Tupelo, “It’s for the eligible working uninsured and the temporarily unemployed residents of Lee County,” Sparks said, noting the single largest budget item, other than salaries of five full-time employees and one contractor, is stocking the clinic’s pharmacy.
And because many of the clinic’s patients receive care for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension, “It’s so important that they have their regular medication.”
Since opening in November 1992, the clinic has served more than 7,800 people and averages between 2,900-3,000 patients a year.
In addition to its employees, Sparks said the clinic has “well over 400 volunteers a year that we couldn’t do without.”
Contact Ginny Miller at (662) 678-1582 or ginny.miller@djournal.com.

 

Ginny Miller/NEMS Daily Journal