Every now and then patients of the Friendship Centers' Health Services take the time to share their story with us. This one is pretty special and it doesn't get much better than Gary Cullen's story, complete with a happy ending.
We couldn't be more proud of the quality and dedication of everyone on staff in our Health Services' programs and the support they provide to the community. Every day they live up to the slogan for the Friendship Centers...
For over a year I had passed out several times and no one could find out why.
When you are 6'2" weighing 260 pounds, fainting isn't fun. Broken ribs, broken nose and several bruises later, SFC came to the rescue.
Prior to moving to Florida I, like many others, fell onto some financial misfortune and to make it worse I also came down with some serious medical issues. After 40 years of a successful career and not a worry in the world we were left penniless.
We licked our wounds, rented a U-Haul, and moved to Florida. Being over 55 but under 65 with no health insurance and having some challenging health issues is scarier than being broke.
Then we found SFC and all the wonderful people who volunteer and work there. From the very beginning we were treated with dignity and respect and SFC gave us the help we needed.
Dr. Bopitiya recognized that I needed immediate attention which required several cardio/heart tests, but the resources for these tests were beyond what SFC could provide. This didn't stop SFC from going one step further; Stacey, Dr. Bopitiya and Lois Marshall went to work in finding me the resources and a way to get me into Sarasota Memorial Medical Clinic. Dr. Bopitiya, with his many years as a cardiologist had connections and he was able to get me the best cardiac surgeon in Sarasota. Stacey and Lois worked their magic and got me the resources to fund everything.
After a week at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and several tests I was given a pacemaker for my bradycardia. It's been nine months now and the "Big Guy" hasn't hit the ground!
SFC continues to be my "Guardian Angel" and I am forever grateful for all the help my SFC angels have given me. Since then they found out that I now have Parkinson's disease and again are saving me from all that goes along with that. Dr. Hicks, Dr. Bopitiya, Dr. Lexow, Stacey Ciejek, Lois Marshall and everyone at SFC are forever in my prayers. They gave me help during a time when everything else was falling apart. Thank you.