Volunteers in Medicine

Volunteers in Medicine on Hilton Head Island provides free medical, dental, eye and mental healthcare to nearly 8,000 low-income patients each year. More than 400 volunteers donate their time and talents to the clinic to insure all patients without insurance and get the medical treatment they need.

"These people need to be seen or they're going to end up in the emergency room or in the hospital," said the organization's Ann Finn.

This volunteer clinic operates on an $600,00 budget, depending solely on donations. That's why Calvin Coetse is using his talents to raise money for the clinic by running one of the world's most famous races, the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in South Africa. It's a challenge he's hoping will raise awareness and money for the clinic.

"I have a soft spot for medical people," Coetse said. "Not only the providers of this service, but people who can't pay for it because we're not all blessed with good health."

"Every little bit helps, we're an organization that depends upon every dollar," Finn noted.

Coetse will run this 35-mile race through the hills of South Africa on Easter Weekend, from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. Although he's run this race five times over the years, it's one that requires a great deal of preparation. Beside hitting the pavement every day, Coetse also runs in three 26-mile marathons beforehand. Even with all that, there comes a point in this intense race where he draws on his experience to pull him through.

"When it's really an emergency, I can draw from the bank, especially during an ultra marathon," Coetse said. "After 26 miles your legs feel like they're giving away. That's about 10 in the morning and you've got this hot sun baking on your head."

Coetse is planning to finish this race is less than five hours. For more information on how you can help, contact Ann Finn Volunteers in Medicine at 843.681.6612.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com