December 26, 2017: Adventist medical professionals are treating thousands of people who flocked to the Phoenix Convention Center for free medical care this Christmas.
azcentral reported that some had camped outside the convention center on Christmas Eve to better their chances of receiving care at the three-day event that started on Christmas Day. The Your Best Pathway to Health event had been organized by the Adventist Church, Loma Linda University Health and other donors.
The event is staffed by about 3,300 healthcare professionals, all of which are volunteering their time and paying for their own travel, lodging and meal costs to serve a projected 8,000 – 9,000 people.
The volunteers are providing primary care, heart evaluations, dental cleaning, vision tests, physical therapy, women’s health services and immunizations. It is estimated that the event will provide over $30 million in free health-related services.
“This is my present. This is the best present,” said Frank Lopez, who had a cyst on his right eye removed by an eye surgeon from Loma Linda at the Phoenix Convention Center. Lopez had experienced difficulty driving and reading for more than a year but was not able to get treatment as he was uninsured.
Dr. Julio Narvaez, a professor at Loma Linda University, said he was happy to treat Lopez. “I’m a Christian, and it’s part of my duty. It’s a privilege to do this,” Narvaez said.
Andy and Cindy Magan, nurses from Colfax, Calif., brought their children to the event. Their two teenagers daughters helped patients and a younger daughter participated in the on-site kid’s programming.
“We wanted them to serve and see that Christmas isn’t just about presents,” said Cindy Magan.
Pathway to Health is an Adventist organization that organizes large-scale free health clinic events in major cities.
The organization’s stated mission is to “To share the love of God by providing free medical, dental, and vision services to the great cities of the world.”