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Annual "Call to Hope" Event Raises Funds and Honors Volunteers

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Both are vital to providing access to healthcare for Central Florida's uninsured or underinsured

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More than 400 corporate and community citizens gathered on Thursday, April 12 for Shepherd's Hope's annual fundraising and volunteer recognition event. The "Call to Hope" breakfast at the Rosen Centre Hotel raised $210,000 in one-time gifts and multi-year pledges for the faith-based nonprofit celebrating its 21st anniversary. The event also highlighted the work of volunteer medical and lay personnel who aid in providing free medical care to the uninsured and underinsured at the organization's five local health clinics.

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Shepherd's Hope is a vital safety net health care provider for the estimated 450,000 Central Floridians who do not have health insurance. In 2017, 26 percent of Shepherd's Hope patients reported they had lost their health insurance in the last six months to a year, and the number of patients who are children jumped from 7 percent to 17 percent.

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"Access to quality health care for our neighbors in need has been the mission of Shepherd's Hope since 1997. Since then, we have been stretched far beyond what was even dreamed of on that day in February when the first patient arrived at our door," said President/CEO Marni Stahlman. "Despite providing 19,575 patient visits and medical services in 2017, we still had to turn away another 900 patients because we didn't have the resources to meet their needs."

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Many of Shepherd's Hope's patients are low-wage, working families who struggle to afford basic housing and living needs. Far too often, they forgo medical care due to financial limitations or use area hospital emergency departments to access care. "Shepherd's Hope makes it possible for these patients to find hope and healing while also mitigating the staggering financial impact to our community," Stahlman added.

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The "Call to Hope" event also honored the work of 2,800 Shepherd's Hope volunteers who contributed 44,000 hours equal to $2.4 million in in-kind services in 2017. Four volunteers received special recognition with the Dr. Ruth McKeefrey Volunteer of the Year Award, named in honor of Shepherd's Hope's first volunteer executive director. They are:

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1. Outstanding General Volunteer of the Year: Faryal Mohammed

2. Outstanding Volunteer Nurse of the Year: Donna Breit, R.N.

3. Outstanding Volunteer Clinical Practitioner of the Year: Jamie Lynch, ARNP

4. Outstanding Physician of the Year: Dr. Jeff Thill

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The sponsorship support of ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Enterprise Holdings Foundation, Florida Hospital, Orlando Health, The Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation, Inc., and Rosen Centre helped to offset the costs of the event, allowing more of the dollars raised to go directly to patient services.

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Watch this year's "Patient Story of Hope" on YouTube.

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Shepherd's Hope is the leading voice for the uninsured and underinsured in Central Florida. Founded in 1997, the faith-based nonprofit organization provides free primary care and specialty care medical services to uninsured men, women and children from five free standing health centers in Orange and Seminole counties. In 2017, Shepherd's Hope provided 19,575 free patient visits and medical services thanks to partnerships with 2,800 licensed medical and general volunteers, 3 community hospital systems, 100 diagnostic/secondary providers and 23 multi-faith partners. To learn more, visit www.shepherdshope.org



 
 
 
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