by Elizabeth Strong

Imagine having a chronic and debilitating disease like rheumatoid arthritis, then losing your job along with your health insurance benefits, and then barely making ends meet with the last of your savings. Every month you face a horrible choice: Should I put food on the table for my family; or should I purchase my medication? 

NC MedAssist, a non-profit pharmacy program providing access to lifesaving prescription medications, patient support, advocacy and related services to vulnerable and uninsured North Carolina residents, says no one should have to choose between groceries and needed medication. Their purpose—to improve the health of North Carolina one prescription at a time—for the Greater Pitt County area patients last year, it meant on average more than 11 prescriptions per person dispensed at no cost.

“We know that there are people in our communities all over the Eastern North Carolina (ENC) region that need daily medication.  We are honored to serve as the pharmacy home for those that are eligible for our program,” said Lori Giang, CEO of NC MedAssist. “In order to continue to make an impact in this region, we are hosting our very first Women In Health fundraiser in Greenville, NC. This unique fundraising event will bring together leaders, experts, and influencers to support and recognize women who significantly and positively impact the health landscape of ENC.  The donations will be used to provide critical medication like insulin to local NC MedAssist patients.  

Women In Health is a free luncheon that is designed to recognize and celebrate the impactful work of women in the Greater Pitt County region.  Nominees could range from a local physician that has gone above and beyond to seek out medication for her indigent patients, a retired nurse volunteering for a local food pantry who provides blood pressure checks to those seeking food for their families or a college student who spends each week driving seniors to their doctor appointments free of charge.  Nominations will be accepted from the public and three (3) local area women will be chosen to be recognized by the WIH Greater Pitt County Committee.   

This inaugural Women In Health Luncheon will be held on May 22 from 11:30a-1p at the Hilton of Greenville.  Registration for this event is required.

“It’s a win-win.  NC MedAssist patients are empowered to live healthier, longer lives by staying compliant with medication therapies prescribed by their physicians and the spotlight is put on local area women that have contributed to the betterment of our community’s health,” said Giang. “This along with the fostering of innovation and collaboration is what we hope will draw support for Women In Health from businesses and citizens of ENC.  We need their support to strengthen health care at home.”

While many may not be familiar with NC MedAssist in the Greenville area, they have been serving the community since 2009 with free prescriptions. By collaborating with safety net organizations like Access East, NC MedAssist is able to serve more patients and save the community money in duplicative pharmacy services.    In 2012, NC MedAssist added the Over the Counter Medicine Program.  This program has the Mobile Free Pharmacy (MFP) and the Charlotte-based OTC Free Store.   NC MedAssist, in collaboration with Vidant Health, will bring the MFP to Greenville on April 13 at St. James United Methodist Church from 9a-2p to provide low-income families who attend with free medicine cabinet staples such as pain relievers, cough and cold medicine, first aid supplies, and vitamins. 

“What a way for the community to come together in support of our vulnerable neighbors,” said Gabriel Baker, NC MedAssist Development Manager for Greater Pitt County. “It will be great to meet, greet, and recognize our awardees for the purpose of raising the necessary funds for our patients who desperately need their medications.  We are calling on local companies to support through sponsorships and individuals to host a table or simply attend.  While the event is free to the public, we want everyone to consider providing a donation.  It takes just $220 to provide one patient with lifesaving medication for an entire year and since NC MedAssist provides giving options to fit most budgets, I ask everyone to get involved, donate and help dispense hope.”

For every dollar donated, NC MedAssist is able to dispense $20 worth of lifesaving prescription medication back to the community.  The Women In Health Luncheon has a goal to raise $50,000, which would mean more than $1 million in medication for the Greater Pitt County area.  

For more information on NC MedAssist and its programs or the Women In Health fundraiser, visit  or contact Gabriel Baker at  Follow us on social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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