Anniversaries usually mark an emotional time in ones life. They can be filled with tears of joy, or sometimes sadness. Both were the case in the beginning of one local essential establishment. The In Health Community Wellness Center will be celebrating nine years of serving the community this month.
The local free health clinic will be hosting an October Extravaganza at the Blaine Gym in Boscobel on Saturday, Oct. 22 from 1 to 5 p.m. The event will include raffle items, games, a craft table for the younger set, an exciting costume contest, a pumpkin decorating contest (please bring your pre-decorated pumpkin, carved, painted or other wise), a cakewalk, and more. Hotdogs and popcorn will also be available.
“We wanted to do a fun fall event to raise some money for the clinic,” noted fundraising coordinator Lorene Conely. “The fall-themed photo booth is really nice, it will give families an opportunity to get a nice photo together, 4x6 photos will be available for $10 and larger sizes as well.”
The dream of the In Health Community Wellness was something born out of frustration for a situation many of us face in our humble, poverty stricken community. Robin Transo was working in a vision clinic with her ex-husband, when things bubbled to a boiling point with her.
“I kept hearing folks who were coming in, and struggling to pay for what they needed,” Transo recalled. “It was either buying groceries or getting medication, paying bills or getting the treatment they needed.”
These decisions for others around them didn’t sit well with Transo to say the least.
“One day, I had enough, I found myself bursting through the door to speak with my husband at the time, who was in with a patient and said ‘What are we going to do about this healthcare crisis!’ I just felt either I have to do something about it or it won’t get done!”
Her prayers were answered with what seemed to be a simple solution, why not use the basement of the clinic they were operating out of currently and start a free clinic.
From there, the ball started rolling. Transo got on the horn and started to call around and see who could help bring this to life.
“I put in a call to Dale Schultz, and spoke with one of his aides,” she recalled. “They were excited to hear my idea because there was talk at the time about putting together a free clinic in the Fennimore/Boscobel area.”
The next day the Grant County Public Health Director came down and gave the space their blessing, but told Transo it would take about a year or two to actually get things going.
“I told them I didn’t want to wait that long,” Transo recalled, the determination still echoing in her voice. “The amount of money we had to raise seemed insurmountable, but I wasn’t ready to give up. And then Gays Mills had their flood, and seeing all of that devastation really pushed me over the edge. I knew that if I could adopt two daughters from the Ukraine in six months, then I can do this!”
Transo pushed things into high gear and started working seven days a week toward making her dream a reality.
“It all started to come together, all of these people came forward, and my prayers were being answered,” Transo said. Doctors and other staff began stepping up and volunteering their time. Even a coveted piece of the free health care puzzle, dentists began to step up and help out. Large donations of equipment and money helped to round out the clinic’s final needs.
“After I had received word of a significant anonymous donation, I had gotten into my car, but I couldn’t even begin to drive. I just had to stop and give thanks, everything had just fallen into place.”
Doctors, Ravikant and Meena Maski from Platteville made a significant and generous donation of clinic equipment as well as their time, just in time for the clinic doors to open. Doctors Ravikant and Meena, still provide their services today, as well as Dr. William Faust, and Dr. Kurt Wilhelm of Boscobel. The lab and x-ray services are possible through the generous donation of Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital.
“We couldn’t do it without all of these people,” Transo said, summing it all up simply.
The In Health Community Wellness Clinic offers community members, primary health care.
“Many people were using the emergency room as their primary form of health care,” Transo noted. “Now, they are able to come here and get help. In the beginning, we saw so many people who should have seen doctors a long time ago.”
Transo explained that the clinic still sees about one person on average per month with a life threatening illness. However, many chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease still dominate scene at the clinic.
“We are working with a lot of people under a lot of stress,” Transo said. “Many are working two jobs just to keep the family going.”
The clinic works with people who do not have affordable health insurance, do not qualify for Medicare, do not qualify for Medicaid or Badger Care, or do not have Veteran’s Care. The clinic also has resources to help people who are interested in getting health care through the Affordable Care Act.
The clinic does not receive federal or state money, and runs completely on private support. The $6 co-pays are needed for prescription medications to help keep things going. Donations are accepted and greatly appreciated, but not required to receive health care. Events such as the October Extravaganza help keep the clinic afloat. Anyone looking to donate an item for the raffle, or become a part of the fund raising team can contact Lorene Conley, In Health Community Wellness Center Raising Coordinator at 608-485-0185 or by email at Loreneconley@gmail.com.
The clinic is open the first and third Mondays from 4:30 to 8 p.m. The second and fourth Monday from 1 to 4 p.m. and the first and third Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and is located at 109 E. Bluff Street in Boscobel. You can keep up with the news about the clinic at their Facebook page and donations are accepted on their website, www.inhealthcwc.com