When you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders it can sometimes be hard to catch your breath. Add in a persistent medical condition while you’re uninsured and your problems can multiply. Thankfully, Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island is there for those in need, enabling them to breathe easier—both literally and figuratively.’

George Johnson relocated to the Hilton Head area many years ago from just outside Detroit, Mich. He reckons he’s been coming to VIM on and off for going on two decades. However, in the past three years or so, things have taken a turn for the worse with his health.

“I was diagnosed with COPD,” George said. COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a common condition, with about three million diagnosed in the United States alone annually. COPD usually manifests as chronic bronchitis or emphysema, and results in permanent lung damage. While the damage is generally irreversible, treatments to improve quality of life are available to those with access to them.

Thanks to VIM, George, and other uninsured residents of Hilton Head and Dafuskie Islands have access to those treatments, including medications and oxygen to help them breathe better. George gets all the care he needs to live the best life he can. He knows that the volunteer doctors and nurses are second to none.

“They’re just incredible,” he said. “They’re like angels sent down from heaven. The work that they do for their patients is beyond description. I really can’t express how wonderful that they are.”

Because of the nature of his disease, George is a frequent visitor to the clinic. He’s built up a rapport with the different volunteers who assist him with his treatment. He says that they treat him like he’s family. Because of all of these factors, he believes it’s worthwhile for anybody to make a donation to the Volunteers in Medicine clinic.