Widow seeks help to pay for her major dental work

Share the Season is an annual campaign that offers one-time aid to people affected by unforeseen hardships. The people are not identified to protect their privacy.

She adamantly shared a message: "Mothers, take your prenatal vitamins so you don't end up the same way."

The births of four children left her with little enamel covering her teeth, and she's seeking help from Share the Season to repair the damage. The 45-year-old single mother said obstetricians never told her pregnancy would "zap the calcium out" of her bones and teeth if she didn't take prenatal vitamins.

She has 12 teeth left. Her face swells from infection, and she's in constant pain.

"To drink a cold drink in the summertime, it's just like sticking needles in my mouth," she said.

When her husband died from cancer 12 years ago, she raised her children alone. There wasn't enough money to pay for everything, she said, so this woman overlooked her own health care needs.

"My dental work has needed to be done since my children were little," she wrote on her application. "Since they came first, so did their dental work, and I have always put mine on the back burner."

Now, her children are grown, but the dental work still costs too much.

Her dental insurance will pay $2000 of the $5000 procedure, but her minimum-wage job working with the mentally disabled covers only basic housing costs. She found a doctor who will start her dental work for $700 if she makes payments on the remaining amount.

"This program could change my whole life. I would be out of pain," she wrote. "I am hoping this will be the start of focusing on my needs to lead a healthy, happy life."

Send contributions to Share the Season at the Wichita Community Foundation, 301 N. Main, Suite 100, Wichita, KS 67202.

To donate online, go to Donors will be listed in The Eagle; please note if you prefer to remain anonymous.

To apply for help: Download an application at, or pick one up at the Salvation Army, 350 N. Market, Wichita, KS 67201. For more information, call 316-263-2769.