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Medical professionals join forces to provide thousands of South Carolinians free medical, vision and dental care in the Upstate.

Hundreds of people lined up for hours outside of the Carolina First Center in Greenville to receive free medical, vision and dental care at SC Mission 2010 and Dental Access Days.

Patients began lining up nine hours before the doors were to open. They camped out all night to ensure they would be the first ones seen. Why? Because they have not been able to afford any medical services for years.

Patients came from around the state, some listing as far as Beaufort to receive the free services provided by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, optometrists and other volunteers during the two-day SC Mission 2010 and Dental Access Days at the Carolina First Center earlier this month.

Judi of Six Mile was the first of about 2,000 people in line at SC Mission 2010 and Dental Access Days at the Carolina First Center in Greenville.

Judi, 58 of Six Mile arrived around 9 p.m. She and a friend sat down in chairs right outside the front doors prepared to camp out for the evening.

“I am in poor health and I’m falling apart,” she said. “I am on disability and Medicare. I haven’t seen a dentist in 10 years and haven’t been to a doctor in years either. ”

Judi and her friend were joined by John Bonham, 28 of Greenville immediately. John, who had been sitting in his car, needed several teeth pulled.

“I’ve been saving up to get my teeth pulled but still don’t have enough,” he said. “If there was only a payment plan where they would work with me. I would pay for the work.”

Their stories were repeated over and over again by other patients waiting in line both days. A lot of people have gone so long without access to care. Many often assume that everyone who needs care goes to a hospital emergency room. While sometimes it may feel that to some, we were reminded that weekend it just isn’t true. There are many people who do not receive basic health care.