Anthony's Story

A devoted husband, loyal father to three grown sons and grandfather to seven little ones who are the lights of his life, Anthony Staples’ life was full of joy. But when a sleep apnea diagnoses caused the professional truck driver to lose his job, he lost something else, too.


For 26 years, Anthony traveled North America, delivering food to retailers. While arduous at times, it allowed him to care for his family and manage his health needs.

But the wheels stopped turning in March, 2015 when Anthony no longer had health insurance to help him find treatment for his sleep apnea, along with some pressing dental needs, and manage his diabetes and high blood pressure.

Anthony’s health declined and he needed help.

A few months later, while at First Baptist Church’s Haley Center in Winter Haven, Anthony heard about the services offered at Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine, thanks to funding from United Way of Central Florida, and decided it was worth a visit.

“There is a sweet spirit in the building,” Anthony said. “From the first volunteer at the front desk to the medical staff in the treatment rooms, everyone here treats me like a valued human being.”

Different from an ER visit, Anthony and other patients receive ongoing and holistic care at LVIM.

LVIM dentists performed several tooth extractions then contacted UWCF and The Ledger’s Newspaper with a Heart program, which covered the expenses for his partial dentures.

Anthony has also committed to a treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes and a medication plan, both of which have already changed his health and his outlook on life.

Today, Anthony is a new man. With the support of LVIM’s volunteer doctors, nurses, dentists and UWCF dollars, Anthony’s blood pressure is stabilized, his blood sugar count is normal and his diabetes under control.

Additionally, he has lost 100 pounds since May, 2014, resulting in reduced problems with sleep apnea.

“With medication and doctor visits, things have gotten a lot better for me,” Anthony said. “And with the dental work I received at LVIM, I can smile again.

“I’m smiling from the inside, out.”