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Fort Myers clinic offers free help to those in pain

Tuesday, June 27, 2017  
Posted by: Christina Swiridowsky
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Fort Myers clinic offers free help to those in pain

Craig Handel 

http://www.news-press.com/story/life/2017/06/26/fort-myers-clinic-offers-free-help-those-pain/370265001/

Doctor followed vision and help has been far reaching

Friday the 13th has been the best of days and worst of days for Dr. Alan Gruning.

Oct. 13, 2004: Hurricane Charley wipes out Gruning’s home in Punta Gorda while he, his wife, daughter and son are in it. It also levels his office in Charlotte Harbor.

Aug. 13, 2010: With a night meeting canceled, Gruning kneels by his bed and asks God if there’s anything needed.

God tells him to start a cost-free, pain-free clinic, Gruning said.

It’s the same request made 13 years earlier. Like he did in 1997, Gruning listened.

“A free, pain-free clinic,” he said. “No one ever has done that. We’ve researched it and no one has done it in Florida.”

Seven years later, The SWFL Free Pain Clinic is open one day a week on Tuesday nights at the Fort Myers First Church of The Nazarene. 

Last month, the clinic raised more than $20,000 at its inaugural fundraising event on May 25. “Heal the Hurt” had more than 120 people attend. It featured a live and silent auction, dinner and testimonials from the clinic’s patients.

Gruning is a doctor of osteopathic. His private practice in Fort Myers specializes in helping people who have car accidents or have fibromyalgia.

“It’s a starting point,” Gruning said of the money raised so far. “We need to raise $100,000 so we can be open another day, $350,000 if we want to be open three days and one night. We’re looking to get grants and help from Lee Memorial. What we hope this creates is seed money.”

The SWFL Free Pain Clinic was established to provide healing for individuals with chronic and acute pain - without the use of controlled drugs - and with the added aspect of prayer and counseling.

The clinic takes a holistic approach to healing. It uses chiropractic care, massage therapy, healthy eating, modalities like ultrasound and exercise training to alleviate pain at the source and begin an effective healing process for individuals who can’t pay. 

Pastor Tim Deaton has received care since July 12, 2012. After suffering damage to his spine when hit by a motorist in a pedestrian crosswalk, Deaton was hit from behind while stopped at a red light on Feb. 26, 2014. That injury caused damage to his neck and upper body.

“I had been making quite a bit of progress,” Deaton said. “I received good physical therapy, good exercise therapy. They’re outstanding at explaining things in plain English. I also wasn’t rushed.”

While Deaton didn’t break anything, he had chronic pain all over his body. While he had edema in his legs, he also cramped up. He takes no medication.

The pain is decreasing. For the first time in five years, he recently mowed the lawn.

Deaton has five congregations in Bonita Springs and Naples, working primarily with folks in their 80s and 90s in retirement centers, nursing homes and memory care.

After giving free services for years, the gift came back to him when he really needed it.

“We don’ take money or want money,” Deaton said. “It’s a calling. It’s like that for these people.

“Those things happen, don’t they? It’s not luck, faith, coincidence, just the way the Lord works.”

There are ongoing volunteers, including medical professionals who donate time and resources for the benefit of the patients. It has been successful in keeping patients out of the emergency room and off drugs. Successful treatment helps patients get back to work, and helps them care for themselves and their families.

“Every person I called I knew might want to help has helped,” Gruning said. “They were like, ‘We’re in, we’ll do it.’

“I went to church and spoke to my congregation asking if anybody wanted to volunteer. About 30 offered. Now, we consistently have 50.” 

Gruning said ApothiCare360 in Fort Myers has donated supplements, medications and free cultures and test kits while working together on a study.

With 20-25 people cared for every Tuesday night, Gruning estimates that $350,000 in costs have been saved per year.

“Every door I needed opened, it happened,” Gruning said. “It’s been miraculous.”

Want to help?

If you’d like to donate or volunteer to the SWFL Free Pain Clinic, go to ChristianMedicalMinistries.org or call Michelle Martin, clinic director at 308-7107.


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