By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Anesthesiologist Dr. Rich Heyer hopes no one goes to sleep on him Tuesday.
Heyer will be the guest/target of honor at the Antone Tannehill Good Samaritan Free Clinic Roast amp& Toast, which will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Summit in Tupelo. He will take the hot seat to help the clinic continue to serve the working uninsured of Lee County.
“It touches so many people,” said Heyer, who has taken a turn as a roaster. “I couldn’t say no.”
The 2010 roast of Drs. Mary and Sam Pace raised $83,000 for the clinic.
“We want to raise as much as we did last year or more,” said Nancy Diffee, chairwoman for the event. “It all goes toward patients.”
During its 18 years of service, the Good Samaritan Clinic has charted more than 55,000 visits for nearly 9,500 patients. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and others volunteer to treat patients in the clinic; specialists like Heyer provide services and goods without charge for those referred from the clinic.
The clinic has seen a surge in patients over the past few years, as companies have had to cut back on hours and raise costs for health insurance, said Cindy Sparks, clinic president.
“There’s still so many falling through the cracks,” Sparks said.
A large majority of the patients have chronic health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.
The roast provides a vital source of funding for the medications the patients need, Sparks said.
“Our physicians can volunteer all day, but unless the resources are there to treat the illness, the person is in the same position,” Sparks said.
Roast & Toast
– Benefits: Antone Tannehill Good Samaritan Free Clinic
– When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
– Where: The Summit, Tupelo
– Roasters: Joann Wilson, Tom Foy and Greg Goldberg
– Cost: $100, available through Monday from the clinic
– Call: (662) 844-3733