Imagine if you can, moving yourself and your daughter to a new place. Imagine now that you’re moving to a new country and you don’t speak the native tongue. It’s a daunting situation that many like Alicia Lobo have dealt with and struggled to overcome.
Alicia relocated to Hilton Head in 1998 from Costa Rica. She was a single-mother to a five-year-old son. She knew very little English. She found work cleaning houses, but it was hardly enough to make ends meet, let alone afford health insurance and medical care. She found Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island by happenstance when she tried to enroll her child in school.
“I needed to get him his vaccinations,” she said. “The people at the school told me about the clinic and I took my son there for his shots and we have been coming here ever since.”
Over the years whenever a sickness came up, VIM has been her for Alicia and her son. Her relationship with the volunteers at the clinic has grown and evolved over time.
“I would say that the people at the clinic are my family,” she said. “They care so much for me not just as a patient but as a person.”
Alicia said that her job has a tendency to be busier depending on the season. During the summer she had more clients on a more regular basis, During the offseason, when many of her clients move on to different locales, she doesn’t work as much and times get leaner.
“The nurses and volunteers have helped to get me in touch with people to get food when I needed it,” she said. “They just went above and beyond.”
And like many of VIM’s regular patients, the clinic was there for her and her son in times of medical emergency—not solely for routine care.
“When my son had appendicitis they made the arrangements for him to have his surgery,” she noted. The clinic also came through for her when she was injured on the job.
“I fell down 14 stairs at work and I injured the ligaments in my left knee,” she said. “They made arrangements for me to get my surgery in Charleston and helped me get help because I couldn’t’ work for a few weeks after that. I am just so thankful for everything that they have been able to do for me and my son.”