I Impact Donations to 26Health Read our real-world success stories about how 26Health was able to treat patients (some with no insurance) with your donation dollars. Impact Donations to 26Health Read our real-world success stories about how 26Health was able to treat patients (some with no insurance) with your donation dollars. There are wonderful organizations supporting medical needs across Central Florida communities that are underserved or have no insurance. We’re proud to be one of them. But that begs the question: Why give your donations to 26Health? Because our work makes an impact that can be measured human-by-human, story-by-story, real-world problem by real-world solution. We help every person who comes to our door in need and with no insurance, no matter their income. And we can only do it with your help. The “What” “What does 26Health do?” our professionals are often asked. And the answer is: We provide every service unique to the LGBTQ+ community’s medical needs, plus all foundational medical care common to all people that have no insurance. Those unique items fall largely into three categories: Supporting the Under- and Uninsured It’s sad but true. Our origins came from recognizing that many in the LGBTQ+ community have no insurance or are under-insured. But those challenges aren’t unique to just the LGBTQ+ community. Healthcare challenges affect Central Florida disproportionately due to the number of local employees in the travel, hospitality, immigrant farmworker, and other industries that don’t always offer their employees healthcare. This coverage gap is also exacerbated by Florida’s refusal of Medicare expansion. So 26Health has expanded our outreach to all communities in the area with no insurance. Our sliding scale and your donations make it possible for members of this community to get the treatment they might not otherwise be able to afford. Mental Health Issues Unique to the LGBTQ+ Community The profound isolation and invisibility felt by LGBTQ+ people mean a greater prevalence of mental health challenges. Those challenges increase within communities further marginalized by poverty, immigration, racial prejudice, and more. We need donations to provide these services both in-house and via our community outreach programs. Community Outreach for Treatment and Prevention of HIV and Other STIs According to the CDC, Orlando is #3 in the nation for new HIV infections. Testing and providing PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is the best way to combat the continued spread of this disease. We currently provide seven testing events each month in the neighborhoods where the numbers of infections are the highest. Donations offset the cost of these testing programs. Real-world stories of real, life-saving results The “what” is better explained in human terms. We’ve used fictitious names, but these are real stories of how your donations to 26Health have changed the lives of some patients for the better, which would not be possible without the monetary support of you and many other donors. Todd’s story: Integrated care helps improve mental health through medication A 26Health psychiatric medication management staffer says, “We see a lot of mixed conditions. Teasing out which condition is the primary symptom is the goal. Sometimes that will reveal which medication can fix a host of mental health problems.” Such was the case with “Todd,” a patient who had experienced years of talk therapy before coming to 26Health. Recognizing that medication might positively impact his underlying issues, Todd’s 26Health counselor referred him to the psychiatric medication group. After one month of medication, Todd couldn’t believe the breakthrough and improvements to his mental health. He exclaimed, “I’m 31 years old. Why did this take so long?” That’s why having integrated care can be so beneficial. The counselor, working together with the medication specialist, made it easy for Todd to get the breakthrough he needed. Mike’s story: Coming out as transgendered with a safe landing place A 26Health professional identified “Mike” as a transgendered male who was struggling. Mike did not want to start hormones until he came out to his family. He was struggling to find his independence, and afraid of losing his family’s financial support. Mike’s counselor at 26Health worked with him to navigate his feelings and legitimate fears. They instituted a system that helped Mike build skills to be independent, and to prepare him for either outcome: acceptance or rejection. 26Health also helped him make a plan, the “how” of coming out to his family. Mike’s first thought was to write a text, but his counselor suggested a letter. Mike was fortunate that his family was completely supportive. However, having his independence plan in place, the emotional support of 26Health, a good job that would enable him to attend college, and a support network of friends, either outcome would have been okay. He had a safe landing no matter what. The Marginalized Within the Marginalized Of course, these stories are only possible because of our commitment to finding the marginalized within the marginalized. Our diversity is intentional. Our outreach is both broad and incredibly deep. By striving to be a safe place for the LGBTQ+ community, we inevitably became a resource for adjacent underserved communities and we are proud of that expansion. This is why we say we offer “care for every letter.” Far too many charitable organizations “impose” charity on others. We do our best to listen and respond to the needs of the community as they share them with us. Just such a relationship led to the establishment of The Healthy Community Initiative in Apopka. 26Health’s Special Projects Manager was invited by an ally to a meeting of LGBTQ+ farmworkers. There, she met several community members, including a young transgender man who was also a patient of 26Health. The connections made at this first meeting enabled the development of a relationship with the Apopka farmworker community, first through the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF) headquarters and then through the Hope CommUnity Center (HCC). Both organizations serve the population of immigrants and the working poor in that area. While the UCF College of Medicine had been providing an on-site quarterly clinic to address acute healthcare needs, community members, employees, and volunteers at FWAF and HCC expressed concerns for several unmet needs including ongoing mental health and wellness support, and training and education for staff, volunteers, and community members. In addition, conversations around LGBTQ+ youth, HIV/AIDS, and transgender/transition care were all lacking. From this, the Apopka Healthy Community Initiative (Apopka HCI) was established. Responses to Apopka HCI program participant surveys show that the initiative has been well-received by the community and has shown great success in serving the needs of this hidden population. This success story is just the beginning; we’d like to do more. Can you see how your donations make an impact providing donations to 26Health?