Life is sweet when you’re working a steady job and you’re able to pay your bills. You have a nice house and your health is fine. We sometimes underestimate the scenarios life can throw at us. Everything can be good, but then a sudden situation occurs and everything goes downhill. When Bonnie Longo’s husband died of congestive heart failure, her life suddenly changed.

It was an unexpected death that left her homeless with no income. She kept her house for a year, but she eventually lost it. Longo was living in her car for five months with nowhere to live and she was unable to find work.

Longo befriended someone who worked at Dunkin Donuts. She realized Longo was homeless and let her move into her home. She stayed there for seven months and that’s when Longo was able to find a job and a place to live.

One day, Longo noticed her ankle was swollen while walking in the park. She decided to check her blood pressure and it was over 200. Bonnie remembered that 18 years ago she was a patient at Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Clinic. She sought help and qualified once again. Her primary care provider, Howard Voss, MD, diagnosed her with hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and hypothyroidism.

“Over the years every single one of her problems has come under control with the appropriate medical therapy. She’s no longer hypertensive, her diabetes is under excellent control, her cholesterol is normal with statin medication, and her hypothyroid is being treated with thyroid hormone,” said Dr. Voss.

Due to being a diabetic, Longo is on a strict diet along with taking her medication. She says her health is the best it’s been now that she’s a VIM patient.

“These are the greatest people and Dr. Voss is a sweetheart. I’m so grateful to him. He’s the greatest thing around,” said Longo. She continues to talk about how VIM made a difference in her life. “I owe them my life. If I wasn’t able to come here, I don’t know what I would have done.”

The VIM Clinic tries to help people the best way they can, Longo says. Dr. Voss prescribes her affordable medications for the three years she’s been here. The clinic provides her with free meters and strips to check her blood sugar.

“She’s having a normal productive life with the medical care that we were able to provide her with. She’s a wonderful success story and an example of what we can do for people who are too poor to otherwise access medical care,” said Dr. Voss.

The VIM Clinic provides health services for uninsured Martin County residents.