A South Surrey orthodontic clinic – and its patients – has helped put smiles on the faces of a handful of children with cleft palates and craniofacial disorders.
After an ambitious campaign for online votes, BC Children’s Hospital discovered last fall that its Spring for Kids BC initiative – which helps children with craniofacial disorders – had been chosen the winner of a $100,000 Pepsi Canada “Refresh Grant.”
The soft drink company’s ‘refresh’ campaign has been ongoing since 2010, and aims to help communities and organizations throughout the country.
Once they were named a finalist last spring, those involved with Spring for Kids – including White Rock Orthodontic Center – encouraged patients, friends and colleagues to spread the word and vote online at Pepsi’s website.
“I don’t know how many votes we got, but it was enough,” said Dr. Dorothy Sonya, one of three orthodontists at the centre, alongside Bo Hoglund and Jay Nagamatsu.
“It’s just wonderful, and it’ll help so many children born with these types of (conditions).”
The voting campaign ran from March 1 until April 30 last year, and after winners were announced, Pepsi spent a few months vetting the results to ensure “all aspects of the contest were properly handled.”
Once it was determined that Spring for Kids would indeed receive the funds, Sonya and her colleagues chose Feb. 14 for the big announcement.
Sonya said while basic medical coverage covers basic craniofacial and cleft palate issues, patients and their families often have to pay for follow-up procedures on their own, which can be costly. This grant, she estimated, will help 20 to 25 young patients pay for those procedures at BC Children’s Hospital.
The prize money is broken down as follows: $50,000 to provide prosthetic and rehabilitative treatment – including the insertion of at least 10 dental implants, bridges and removable or partial dentures; $30,000 to provide 15 children with dental restoration; and $20,000 to create interactive educational materials about cleft and craniofacial disorders.
“Society is very focused on aesthetics, and for some of these children, no matter how smart they are, or what else they do, this can hold them back. We just want to be able to make that better for them,” Sonya said.
For more on the Spring for Kids program and White Rock Orthodontic Centre, visit www.springforkidsbc.com or www.whiterockortho.com