The following is the personal story of Mark, a patient seen last spring who received life-changing help from InterFaith. He utilized InterFaith’s dental department, primary care services, and medications dispensary on his road to recovery:

“I am a single 38-year old man whose health is a train wreck.  Some of my problems are due to genetics and some to lifestyle. For over ten years I have worked two jobs paying minimum wage with no benefits.  I know I need to eat healthier, exercise and get consistent sleep. But my minimum wage jobs don’t allow for a wide variety of food choices, time to exercise or regular sleep habits.  I have scraped together the money to go to a doctor – not as often as he felt necessary – but often enough to get my prescriptions called in. Taking generics, most of the time I can afford my prescriptions if I reduce the dosages.  But six weeks ago, an abscessed tooth made my world fall apart.

Eventually the pain and swelling landed me in the emergency room – 3 times.  Each time they gave me antibiotics and told me to follow up with a dentist, which I can’t afford.  I‘m not complaining because I don’t think a hospital emergency room is supposed to focus on dental problems.  In order to buy my antibiotics, though, I couldn’t afford my other medications. As soon as one round of antibiotic was finished, the pain and swelling returned.  Without my other medications my overall health was taking a rapid decline.

Then I learned about InterFaith Health Clinic.  They were able to see me one Monday night and they got me back on all my medications with their Patient Assistance Program.  They also just happened to have a volunteer oral surgeon working that night. Before I left, my abscess was well on its way to being eliminated.  Also, they scheduled appropriate medical and dental follow-up appointments, which I’d be able to afford thanks to their sliding fee scale.

InterFaith possibly saved my life that night.  I cannot tell you what a difference it made. But, it wasn’t just the quality care I received; it was the compassionate way that care was given.”

United Way of Greater Knoxville is incredibly proud to support an agency that offers life-saving treatments to the people of Knoxville. Health and comfort are an important and inalienable right to everyone in our community- not just those who can afford it. Change doesn’t happen alone. To live better, we must LIVE UNITED.

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