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Dozens of people gather on the porch of Chapel by the Sea. Clouds cast shadows over the morning sky, making it cooler than normal as the breeze from the gulf chills the crowd. Many of these folks are homeless and turn to the Fort Myers Beach church for help. After eating breakfast, they join hands in a circle and recite a prayer.

Inside a storefront near downtown Fort Myers, twenty people wait in a cramped room to be seen by a nurse practitioner. The sign facing the road reads ‘free clinic.’ Parish nurse Yolette Osselin calls the next patient. She passes a painting of Jesus in ‘The Last Supper’ on her way to the sole examination room.

Students stampede into Bonita Springs Middle School’s gymnasium and flood the bleachers.

Staples in gym class may evoke mixed emotions in kids. There’s dodgeball, the mile run, getting yelled at for standing around… Sixth-grader Alexis Fisher embodies that attitude.

Aging baby-boomers, a retiring workforce, and a growing population are driving up the demand for health care providers. It may be an impending problem for some areas. But in certain rural communities, this has long been their reality.

Residents of Glades County have been dealing with a doctor shortage for decades. The county has a new doctor –and he’s its only one.

Farah Dosani

Jennifer Lee and her four year-old daughter Kristin check out the Halloween candy she brought home from school.

"Arlin was so sad that he couldn't go trick-or-treating that I promised him we wouldn't go either", reminded Lee to her daughter. "No, he couldn't go, because he was in the hospital, right?"

"No", answered Kristen.

Lee's seven-year-old son Arlin has been in a behavioral hospital in Orlando for almost two weeks. He lives with bipolar disorder and had reached a crisis point. The single mom drove her son three hours away from their Cape Coral home to get help.

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