Debi Harmon: Thanks to everyone who supports clinic

To the editor:

I would like to express a big thank you to everyone who participated in the Yahoo Golf Tournament fundraiser and to recognize the hard work of organizers Tom and Helen Knez and Dan and Stacey Severson. Donations continued to trickle in through last week, bringing the total to $ 9,632, which will be used for the “purest” costs of direct patient services. The goal of the fundraiser was to build a patient assistance fund to make sure no child is denied relief-of-pain dental care because of inability to pay.

Daily, our staff dentist, Dr. Jerry Thalken, and his assistant, DJ Barger, along with dental hygienist Lyndi McDermott, tackle a myriad of oral health problems related to rampant oral decay. Severe cavities, abscesses, children crying in pain and school hours missed are just some of the challenges we experience, “all in a day’s work.” Contributions help us overcome obstacles and deliver quality patient care to children who otherwise would go without.

Our clinic is one of only three nonprofit dental clinics on the Western Slope of Colorado. We were created and continue to work to fill gaps in the local continuum of oral health care. Our board of directors –indy Biskup, Cheryl Ivy, Neal Fenton, Ann Irvin, Elaine Sullivan, Joel Sheridan, Janet Bohart, Saed Tayyara, Carol Sharp and Cathy Cronk –re a compassionate group of community leaders whose dedication, perseverance and support were a driving force in the completion of the dental clinic. If it were easy, safety-net dental clinics would be everywhere.

October is National Dental Month. Good oral health is essential to the general health of one’s body, yet oral disease is still a major health issue. This is particularly overwhelming when dental decay is 100 percent preventable. By beginning in your own home and developing good oral hygiene habits, you can help us get ahead of the curve and make substantial gains in improving the overall health and well-being of our community. And if you see one of the unsung heroes I mentioned above, please join me in sharing how much we appreciate the difference they have made in the life of a child.

Debi Harmon

Executive Director

Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition

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