Lakeland volunteers serve patients in need at local healthcare center

Debbie Boyett has been connecting patients and doctors at the Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine facility for more than four years. 

"I was a patient first. They diagnosed my cancer. I have lymphoma its incurable and I'm in my second remission," shared Boyett.

After sitting home for a while, she decided to volunteer at the healthcare center. 

"I said, ‘You know what, I need to give back to those people who gave me my life back again.’ And I started volunteering in 2017," Boyett added.

The Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine is a volunteer-run health care center that provides free high-quality medical care to the working uninsured of Polk County. 

"We have volunteers who have been with us basically since the beginning," said Kevin McWilliams, Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine Chairman of the Board.  

What makes the non-profit so unique is that 98 percent of the workers are volunteers. 

"We have over 300 volunteers and a paid staff of about 15 or so," explained McWilliams. That leads to big financial savings for the facility. 

"Over $100,000 a month that we saved if you estimate what a doctor’s time would cost [and] what the staff time would cost. Without volunteers, we would not be able to do this," shared McWilliams. 

For Boyett, it's about paying it forward. 

"I just want to be able to give back to the patient, the same thing I was given when I was a patient," she added.