Meet Jennifer, read her story“I have been a patient at Virginia B. Andes for a number of years, and it has been an incredible God-Send for me.  Whenever I have occasion to be there, I am flooded with gratitude that this amazing, much needed, facility exists – especially in a relatively small place like Port Charlotte.

They are continually improving their services offered and their efficiency without losing their heart.  This is in large part due to their wonderful Volunteers as well as the paid staff.

The Volunteers just blow me away with their dedication and professionalism.  They really work as a team.  If I had to pick one word to describe them, it would be consistently courteous.

This cannot always be said of other Medical Facilities but I can honestly say I have never had a bad, annoying or frustrating experience there.  I am sure this is not an accident but a result of well thought-out planning and organization.

Despite a huge variety of patients with both physical and mental ailments (which just keeps growing) they work together to take it all in stride and always with a smile.

As you can imagine, the patients who are lucky enough to find VBA are not always experiencing the best times of their lives and therefore may not be exhibiting their “best selves”.  But like me, are never made to feel they are “less than” because of their current situation but are instead made to feel “part of” with understanding, good humor and confidentiality.  This is invaluable for each of us at this time, not to mention Covid, when circumstances may be making you feel bad about yourself or just down.

Getting good medical care and especially the medications you require, and would otherwise be impossible, make a huge difference in your life and for some may be lifesaving.  At the very least it is one of many challenges that can be eliminated and now counted on rather than stressed over.  I also appreciate the focus on wellness & prevention.

I have heard of instances when a possibly fatal condition has been “caught in time by the staff”.  These occurrences must be the high bar that makes it all worthwhile.  Thank you to everyone! YOU’RE DOING A GOOD JOB!


I’d like to share a little bit of my own story.  

I moved to Port Charlotte to become a caregiver for my mom.  Prior to this I always had a full time job and insurance to cover my medical needs.  My mom had developed Alzheimer’s, COPD and diabetes.  It was really stressful 24/7 and made it impossible to hold down a full time job.  I loved my mom dearly and would make this exact choice again… but financially it eventually left me broke. 

As for other resources, I was too young for Medicare, have no children, no Medicaid and do not suffer a disability.  Eventually we had the Affordable Care act, but even this did not work for me.  I was really worried that I was not going to be able to afford the care and medications I needed. And I knew I needed to stay well to be able to care for my mom.

That is why I am so very thankful for Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic.  I was also able to get some of my medications through the hard work of the pharmacy staff that petitions drug companies directly, which is amazing (PAP.)

And I need to mention…. getting the Vitriol shot through a drug company and administered at CBHC really changed my life.  It has helped me stay sober (my sister is also grateful).  I was also able to get the Nicotine patches and with the help the Wellness coach, who also helped me to quit smoking.  Not to mention important blood tests, lung CT scans, mammograms, and medications for high cholesterol and low thyroid. So in a way you can say my life has been saved! 

The staff has such a “can do” attitude. 

I think they feel determined to get you help one way or another and thereby deliver the gift of making you feel you are not alone in your struggles.  Again this is immeasurable and where my gratitude comes from.  Thank you!  Thank you!

I’d love to name the staff individually, but I’d hate to leave anyone out.  You are all GREAT! And we are all so LUCKY to have VBA!”

With Sincere Gratitude,
Jennifer Dirrane

Jennifer wants you to know that if you feel you need someone to talk to or need inspiration, you can contact her at