Hepatitis C patient praises free clinic treatment

Hepatitis C patient praises free clinic treatment

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Curing people while restoring their hope. That's the goal of the Free Medical Clinic in Columbia.

The clinic is one of 336 nonprofits taking part in Midlands Gives - a 24 hour online fundraising blitz happening May 2. One patient shared her story with WIS in the hopes that others will support the clinic that gave her her freedom back after a terrifying diagnosis.

The patient, going by the pseudonym "Sabrina" for purposes of anonymity, first came to the Free Medical Clinic on Harden Street in 2010. She's one of the thousands of patients the clinic serves who do not have private insurance or who don't qualify for Medicaid or Medicare.

In 2016, doctors diagnosed Sabrina with Hepatitis C.

"It was a matter of life and death and I wanted to live. And I wanted to do the right thing in life."

According to the clinic's volunteer medical director, Dr. Todd Crump, Hepatitis C symptoms include fatigue, nausea and a number of other symptoms.

"It can lead to certain cancers, it can lead to end-stage liver disease, and even death," Crump said.

In 2016, the clinic began treating certain Hepatitis C patients, like Sabrina, with a drug called Harvoni, donated by Gilead Sciences. Nine patients have been cured at the clinic so far, and more are currently being treated.

The 12-week course costs more than $94,000, and not everyone qualifies for the treatment. Now, on the other side of her treatment, Sabrina calls it a miracle.

"It's good to feel healthy and clean and free. Free state of mind. Not worrying: what is wrong with me?" Sabrina said. "If I ever won the lottery, I'd build a whole brand new building. Because they saved my life. They saved my life."

The Free Medical Clinic is aiming to raise $6,000 for Midlands Gives. If you'd like to donate to non-profits like The Free Medical Clinic, go to MidlandsGives.org to schedule your donation.

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