University Area free clinic and pharmacy helps uninsured get the care they need

A young woman found her passion after a life-altering event. Her inspiring story of serving others is what's right with Tampa Bay.

Kaycee Soltysiak started a non-profit five years ago to honor her dad's passing.

"My father had passed away with pancreatic cancer and we had great health insurance, but I felt like we had a lot of issues at the pharmacy level. So I felt like it needed to be changed," she said.

Out of her father's death, Kaycee found her purpose in life, to create a free clinic for the community. Lily Pharmacy and Clinic now serves hundreds without insurance.

"I saw people that weren't taking care of themselves. They needed healthcare but yet they were so scared of the cost of it. Such a financial burden of them that shouldn't be the case," she said.

Corrie Mercato was one of those people. A visit to the doctor's office was hard to come by.

"I was widowed about two and half years ago and I lost my medical insurance," recalled Mercato. "I had been sick a week and it's not going away. So I had to do something."

But help from Lily Pharmacy and Clinic lessened her struggle. The clinic offers free health check-ups and drug prescriptions for people who can't afford health insurance.

The clinic has a nurse practitioner and pharmacy in the University Mall location. 

"Once you find that purpose in life for yourself, you just, I don't know how to explain it. I didn't have a choice at this point, too," said Kaycee. "I don't know anything but pharmacy. It just feels right. It makes me happy."

For Mercato, it's a big relief to get the medical help that she needed.

"I think it's amazing. It's great they have services like this in the community."

The free clinic is opened Monday through Friday and they are doing COVID-19 testing. For more information, visit