Roderick Borisade knew something was wrong when his left side became numb. He was scared and didn’t know where to turn for help.
“Weeks prior, I’d fallen at my house, and the symptoms came later,” Roderick said. “The first symptom was numbness on my left side. I couldn’t close my fist, and I couldn’t put a key in the door’s keyhole. I couldn’t do anything with the left side of my body.”
The Jacksonville resident didn’t know how or where to get help. But, most of all, he didn’t know how he was going to pay for it.
“I realized something was wrong, and I didn’t have insurance,” he said. “I was terrified — I didn’t know what I could do. I thought I was going to have to stay sick or die.”
Roderick’s aunt is a nurse. She volunteers with Muslim American Social Services (MASS) Clinic, a local agency funded by United Way of Northeast Florida. She told Roderick about MASS, and Roderick was able to get the help he needed.
MASS, located on Jacksonville’s Southside, provides free, volunteer-based care management to the uninsured population of Duval County. By collaborating with local health-care institutions, We Care clinics and other faith-based organizations, MASS’ work improves public health; lowers health-care costs; and reduces the burden of non-emergency care and the treatment of acute and chronic diseases placed on local hospital emergency rooms.
“MASS was able to help me because they gave me real doctors, real nurses to help me during my time of need, ” Roderick said. “These were actual doctors from hospitals that took their time to donate their services to people that needed it that didn’t have the opportunity to have insurance. They were there when I absolutely needed them.”
With a history of brain cancer in his family, Roderick found out from MASS he had lesions on his brain. MASS was not only able to establish a primary care facility for him but also got Roderick an appointment with a neurologist, who diagnosed him with multiple sclerosis.
Today, with the proper medication and care, Roderick is able to treat his multiple sclerosis. With continued care through MASS Clinic, Roderick can monitor his multiple sclerosis and take care of his health without the financial burden.
“I needed top-quality service, and I received it from MASS Clinic,” Roderick said. “It’s a Muslim clinic, but they help everyone, and I think that’s huge. It doesn’t matter where you’re from — they take care of you. It’s a great example of just love.”
His experience at MASS has inspired Roderick to give back where he can.
“The idea that people can give and give free with no strings attached is big,” Roderick said. “I want to help give. They inspire me to help others and continue to help others as much as I can.”
Moreover, Roderick is incredibly grateful United Way supports MASS and other agencies who provide life-sustaining services for those in need.
“To know they are part of United Way is great because they have a better chance of surviving out here,” he said. “You worry about clinics or nonprofits disappearing after time.”
MASS is one of more than 200 United Way partners across our five-county region. And Roderick’s story is only one of hundreds of thousands of lives changed every year in Northeast Florida thanks to United Way and its partners. If you are interested in supporting the work of United Way, visit unitedwaynefl.org/give today.
“I’m thankful for MASS and United Way for not only helping me but helping [other] people,” said Roderick. “I saw so many people in that clinic who needed help who were in far worse conditions than myself. I am thankful there is someone there for them. I feel like we forget people sometimes, and it was a good chance for me to see that some people aren’t just forgotten and that people care about things other than themselves.”