Efrain Gonzalez and his family had no health insurance when he became very ill. A mobile charity clinic run by the Children's Health Fund provided him with life-saving medical care and eventually helped diagnosed him with diabetes.
How Red Nose Day Helps Children in Need
LESTER HOLT, anchor:
Maybe you have noticed recently a lot of famous faces sporting red noses, it's all because of Red Nose Day, a special event airing right here tonight on NBC, featuring a parade of stars having a laugh for charities, including one that helped save the life of a young man you are about to meet. NBC's Joe Fryer has his story.
JOE FRYER, reporting:
If this run-of-the-mill junior varsity football practice--
MAN: Rip to the right.
FRYER: --seems unusually riveting to the family of fifteen-year-old Efrain Gonzalez--
MAN: Let's go, let's go.
FRYER: --stop and consider what nearly slipped through their hands.
MARISA GONZALEZ (Efrain's Mother): When you almost lose your child, it changes everything.
FRYER: Here, along the desolate desert grasslands of southeast Arizona, medical care for kids was once scarce until a few years ago when a big, blue stranger pulled into town. Doctor Darlene Melk now travels the region in a mobile clinic run by Children's Health Fund.
DR. DARLENE MELK: I love feeling like I'm in a place where not many people want to be, that there is something that I can do that makes a difference.
FRYER: No one is turned away, including Efrain's family in 2012 when they had no health insurance and he became very ill.
M. GONZALEZ: We literally were holding him up to walk to register in when she peeked out the window and she said what's wrong?
FRYER: Did you pretty quickly know what might be the problem?
DR. MELK: I did.
FRYER: Doctor Melk diagnosed Efrain with diabetes and knew he had to get to a hospital immediately.
EFRAIN GONZALEZ: I was weak, scared, it's like my body was shutting down on me.
FRYER: Efrain's family rushed him to an emergency room 75 miles away just in time.
M. GONZALEZ: Without the mobile clinic, he would have absolutely gone into a coma. And I don't even want to say what that outcome of that would have been.
FRYER: Efrain is grateful for that doctor's office on wheels.
WOMAN: Hello, how are you?
FRYER: And now hopes Red Nose Day will raise enough money to put more mobile clinics in places that need them.
E. GONZALEZ: Because one day you never know what could happen and it saved my life.
FRYER: These days, it is not just the clinic that's going places. Joe Fryer, NBC News, Douglas, Arizona.
HOLT: The Red Nose Day special event with hosts, Seth Meyers, David Duchovny, and Jane Krakowski airs right her on NBC tonight at eight, seven Central.
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