It’s been three years since Kameron Lyons, 21 of Long Beach has seen a dentist. The Cal State University Long Beach senior says that she has suffered through extreme pain in her mouth for the last three months that prevents her from eating anything cold including her favorite- ice cream.
But on Thursday, thanks to the Care Harbor LA free healthcare clinic, Lyons received two fillings and a teeth cleaning from a dentist free of charge.
“My mouth feels better now,” Lyons said. “I’m grateful and really happy to be here.”
The mounting cost of tuition and books has forced Lyons to spend her limited income on school rather than healthcare.
“It’s nice to know that people care about those of us that don’t have the luxury of going to a dentist,” Lyons continued. “The aura here is positive, the people volunteering are happy to be here and it is all good vibes.”
For four days, hundreds of doctors, dentists, nurses and other volunteers provide free screenings, treatment, prevention resources and follow-up care to thousands of uninsured, underinsured and at-risk individuals and families inside the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. At the clinic, patients also will be able to receive HIV tests, specialty medical care and primary care.
Like Lyons, James Scott, 75 of Los Angeles is thankful for the opportunity to receive free healthcare at the clinic. Scott says that he has stopped driving altogether because of his poor eyesight and that he is looking forward to seeing an optometrist.
“I’m reliant on my right eye and have become a one-eye reader,” Scott said. “I have Medicare but it doesn’t fully cover what I need and I can’t afford to see an optometrist. My license is expired and I need a prescription and glasses so that I can see better and pass the vision exam at the DMV.”
One of the primary goals for the event is not only to provide people with quality, holistic medical care, but to sign up eligible residents for insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
“We want to create an event so that the people going through the line this year are not going to have to have to be in line next year,” Don Manelli, president and founder of Care Harbor said. “We are working hard to become obsolete.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose office is one of the sponsors of Care Harbor LA, said that the need for the event is clear, referring to the line of individuals waiting to enter the sports arena to receive medical attention.
“We are proud to provide compassionate and efficient healthcare to thousands of individuals in need of care,” he said. “Care Harbor represents the best of our communities and humanity at its best to help those who are less fortunate.”