Mission of Mercy Trip

12th Mission of Mercy Trip—July 22-24, 2016 Dr. Morabito Helps Make Smiles of a Lifetime

Dr. Morabito with other volunteers.Dr. Morabito & his team participated in the annual Mission of Mercy/ RAM project in Wise, VA. The theme for the weekend was “Make America Smile Again”. It was held at the Fairgrounds outside under tents, tarps, mobile trailers & horse stalls in the blazing sun. Wise, an 8-hour drive from D.C., lies deep in the Appalachian Mountains in what was once prosperous coal country. Today, the coal mines have all but died, with most of the supporting businesses having departed, leaving devastation in the community & taking away not just jobs, healthcare & financial well-being, but hope as well.

However, with the combined efforts for hundreds of volunteer dentists, staff, medical professionals & general volunteers, we made huge impact on of the lives of 1,232 patients who received treatment. Those patients received dental care with over $1,313,789 of dental services donated. Patients came from as far as North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia & Kentucky to this annual medical-dental mission, which is the oldest & largest one in the nation & was started by the Virginia Dental Association.

In the past our team has focused on fillings, extractions & cleanings. This year our emphasis was complete smile rehabilitation through an amazing new process from Benchmark Dental that allows us to fabricate new upper & lower dentures in about two hours. In fact, our denture team was able to provide more than 100 dentures over the weekend. “Life changing”, “Oh my God” , “I can’t stop smiling” – these are just a few of the comments by our patients as they walked in without teeth & walked out with a bright, white smile that they may never have otherwise had. “Tears of joy, smiles, & hugs were our only reward!”

Most of the patients we treated had no teeth at all, many for at least five years & some up to twenty. This population simply does not have insurance or the money to pay for a set of dentures, which on average can cost $4,000-5,000. It’s absolutely devastating & incredibly sad to see so many patients in their 20s, 30s & 40s without teeth, not to be able to eat a healthy meal & not be able to smile. In fact, there is a waiting list of more than 700 patients for this one mission alone.

Dr. Morabito & his team started their mission work following Hurricane Katrina, & have since gone abroad to El Salvador, Jamaica, Peru & Haiti. This is our 12th Mission of Mercy project & our second one in Wise. “I am truly honored & humbled to have been joined by my team, several of their children & my father-in-law in giving back, changing lives & restoring dignity,” says Dr. Morabito.

Group of volunteers in front of canopy.
Doctors and team members wokring with a patient.
Patient receiving dental services.
Smiling group of volunteers and patient.

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