Clinic kicks off Mercy Heart Angels campaign

Photo by Jay Jones

Photo by Jay Jones

CONYERS -- Mercy Heart Health Clinic will celebrate its one-year anniversary this month by kicking off its first major fundraising drive.

The campaign, called Mercy Heart Angels, will aim to enlist 250 donors who each give $1,000. With these funds, Mercy Heart could operate a full-time clinic, serving 600 patient visits a month, said Ed Conway, executive director of Mercy Heart.

"We want to make a significant impact on our community, both economically and morally," Conway said in a press release from the clinic announcing the fund drive. "It is our intention to partner with all of Rockdale County's nonprofit organizations to provide them with a medical and dental resource for their clients. Rockdale enjoys a reputation of pulling together for the common good, and Mercy Heart is confident that we will reach our goal."

Mercy Heart opened its doors to patients on Feb. 16, 2010. Volunteer doctors and dentists handled nearly 670 patient visits over the following 10 months.

Mercy Heart is a charitable health clinic that provides preventative medical care to low-income, uninsured people in Rockdale County. The clinic treats diabetes, hypertension, chronic heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The clinic also provides basic dental care, including cleanings, extractions and fillings.

Dr. Lisa Gillespie, who has served as Mercy Heart's medical director, leads the medical clinic. Dr. Fred Hedrick and Dr. Jeff Dodson have donated time to serve the dental needs of Mercy Heart's patients. Nurses and dental professionals also volunteer their time each week to treat Mercy Heart's patients and to support the doctors, according to the press release.

Conway said the Mercy Heart Angels drive hopes to build on the support of Rockdale County residents to "pull together" for something that will be beneficial to the entire community.

"By the end of 2011 we want the funding of Mercy Heart to be at least 80 percent from individual donors," he said. "Mercy Heart serves only Rockdale and it is Rockdale that should be the primary sponsor."

Mercy Heart's medical clinic is open from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, and the dental clinic is open from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays. The clinic is located at 2796 Ga. Highway 20 S. in Conyers.

Mercy Heart relies on the support of several community partners, including Rockdale Medical Center, Hedrick and Dodson Family Dentistry, the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, among many others.

For more information, call Conway or Darlene Hotchkiss, president of Mercy Heart Health Clinic, at 678-374-5132, or go to www.mercyheartclinic.org.