FLORENCE – Retired Florence physician, Dr. Myers Hicks, one of the founders of and volunteer physicians at Mercy Medicine Clinic in Florence, received, on behalf of the clinic, $5,400 from the Francis Marion University Ars Medica group recently.
FMU's Ars Medica Society raised the $5,400 during their "Make a Difference Day," fundraising activities which began last October. About 150 members and friends of the group worked to raise the gift. The group solicited donations from the Florence medical community, received $500 from Wal-Mart in Florence, and sold Christmas candy and supplies to raise the money, just to benefit the work of Mercy Medicine Clinic.
The money will purchase medical supplies for the clinic. Mercy Medical Clinic serves the indigent population in Florence and is housed at the Manna House on Jarrott Street. Volunteer retired doctors and nurses and others staff the clinic. Dr. Hicks has practiced medicine since 1950, with the exception of six years when he tried to retire from medicine.
USA Weekend sponsors the annual day of national "doing good" which pits groups against one another in competition for grants. Ars Medica, under the guidance of Tom Roop, J.L. Mason Professor of Health Sciences and FMU professor of biology, is composed of students who plan to enter health profession careers. They also participated in the program last year.
The clinic is not the only recipient of gifts from Ars Medica. The group has provided FMU students with $25,000 in scholarships since 1981. Previously, Ars Medica donated $1,000 to the clinic.
In appreciation of the recent gift, Dr. Hicks visited the FMU campus and spoke to the Ars Medica group in February. He told the group of folks interested in going into medicine as a career that the most important things in life are to serve and to give.
Serving and giving, he said, “bring self worth. If you're going into medicine for the money, you're in it for the wrong reasons. If you have a heart to help, the money will come," he said.
"This gift is such an encouragement to us. It's always good to know there are folks compassionate enough to help others."
If the clinic has no money, he said, they have no medicine to provide patients. Myers said the clinic sees about 1,800 patients each year and that about 10,000 folks in the area need to be cared for. Nine of the ten folks he sees, he said, have no money for medicine.
Inability to get an appointment when they feel they need it and inability to pay for health care are the two biggest reasons folks put off visiting a doctor, he said. He had seen 25 people the morning of his talk.
Myers encouraged the students to make the most of their college days, to "live it to the hilt and to profit from each opportunity" presented.
Through the medical treatments provided at the clinic, Dr. Hicks said one in four treated are able to improved to the point where they can return to work, making them a contributor to society, and not just a drain. That’s the work of the clinic, he said, helping others have an improved quality of life.
Dr. Hicks told the group that recently one young lady who had a tight aortic valve stenosis was seen as a patient at the clinic and properly diagnosed. She then received free surgery for replacement of the valve, is recovered and back at work. A local surgeon donated his time and services for the procedure.
Two other women were saved from death from cancer because of early detection and treatment. Other folks, devastated financially by medical conditions and their treatments, received counseling and spritual renewal through the clinic, he said, and now, a year later, do not suffer from their previous medical conditions and are restored financially and medically.
“Thanks for being part of this noble task,” he said, “and for being our partners and encouragers.”