For Mother's Day we wanted to give a deserving mother within our local community a prize that would forever change her life. We asked for nominations detailing why they should win and how this procedure would change their life. We received hundreds and hundreds of amazing, heartfelt nominations. We would be lying if we said it was easy to pick a winner, because we do truly wish we could give this prize to everyone. There are so many wonderful mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and role models within our community that go without recognition everyday. For this reason, we also decided to name a first and second runner up instead of just one winner.
So without further adieu, please take a moment to learn about our wonderful winners!
1st Place Winner of the Complete Smile Makeover
Lori, was nominated by multiple family members and friends. Her selflessness throughout her life not only caught our attention, but it won our hearts. We are so excited to give this prize to someone who has given so much of herself to others. Below is one of the many nominations that were sent into us. We would love to share all of her nominations and the different perspectives of her story, but there are just too many for a single blog post.
I would like to nominate my wife, Lori for the Mother's Day smile makeover. It was her smile from the back row of the church that piqued my curiosity 15 years ago and won me over as I got to know her. After she agreed to laugh at my jokes forever if I would agree to always keep her warm, we got married. As the years have gone by, her teeth deteriorated to the point where she needs major work and is in pain quite often. She no longer smiles with her mouth open and is very self-conscious of her teeth when she laughs. She has had to have several teeth pulled because of pain and has been saving money for the various implants and procedures for several years but the money always ends up going to someone else who she feels needs it more.
I have had a hard time in our marriage finding gifts for her. Lori doesn't have big needs. She doesn't need jewelry, she doesn't need clothes or shoes. She asks for so little and gives so much that try as I might, anything I get for her just seems inadequate. A new smile is the one thing I want to get her that I know she both needs and wants.
She deserves to win for so many reasons, but the last 3 very difficult years have shown her true colors.
Three years ago, in a single month, her sister passed away, my dad's health failed and he was in the ICU, and we found out that she was finally pregnant with the third child we'd been trying for for nearly 6 years. She was my rock as I dealt with my dad's health issues, and despite being pregnant, and living in a tiny 1300 sq/ft condo, she agreed to take in her two nephews and add them to the two girls we already had. She was the driving force in getting one of them on a mission and has supported him with emails every week through his 2 years, (and is excited for him to come home next week).
18 months ago, she again showed her willingness to meet difficult circumstances head on. She saw the struggles my mother was having with my father, who was now unable to care for himself, and suggested that we were the ones who needed to help. We packed most of what we own in a storage unit and moved into the basement in order to take care of my parents and give my mother a break from being the sole caregiver. She has never complained. She has never second-guessed the decision to help, and she just dove into the process of making my dad's life as happy and comfortable as possible (while no doubt becoming the favorite daughter-in-law) until he passed away earlier this year.
There is so much I could say about my amazing wife, but I'll just sum up with a few extra reasons she should win.
- She runs a family as well as running my business as well as her own.
- She is an incredible mother who loves to read to our 3 girls (and her husband who always seems to be around for the good parts.)
- She is always up for a new adventure.
- She takes whatever life hands her with determination to hand it back better than she found it.
- She puts up with my shenanigans.
- Her eyes sparkle in a way that lets you know that she loves you, and she deserves to have a smile with that same sparkle.
How would this change her life? Well, she would no longer have to dull the pain just to get through the day, but maybe even more importantly, this would give her something, for once, that is all about her. It would be something that helps her feel beautiful and confident, the way she makes everyone else feel around her every day.
I have tears flowing from my eyes as I write this, imagining what it would mean to her to finally have the procedures she's wanted for so many years. I want it for her so badly, and I'm grateful that you are making it even a possibility.
1st Runner Up - $5,000 off any dental treatment
Lynda also had multiple nominations from her family and friends. Below is just one of many nominations that outlines the type of person she is. Again, we wish we could share them all!
I can’t think of anyone that deserves or needs the Stubbs Dental Mother’s Day Giveaway more than my mother. Even though my mother has always been diligent at trying to take care of her teeth, she has always had severe problems with tooth decay. Unfortunately, my parents have never had the means to pay for much dental work, so rather than getting root canals and crowns, when her teeth decay, she has had to opt for tooth removal. She has lost several of her teeth now and will lose more in the near future. My mom always joked that one of her eight children would need to become a dentist or marry a dentist, unfortunately that never happened and unfortunately none of us have the means to get her the help that she needs for her teeth.
The number one reason that I feel that my mother deserves this giveaway is because she is the most selfless giving person I know. As the mother of eight, and always having to live on a low income, she has always given up her needs for her children’s needs. My mom always went without, just so that her children could have the things that they need. Her service doesn’t end with her family either. My mother is an amazing seamstress and cook. She has often had people ask favors of her to sew something for them or bake something for them and she never says no, no matter how crazy her life is at the time. She has gone without sleep many nights serving others. Here is an example of something my mother once did for me, which pretty much sums up who she is: About 9 years ago I lived in Idaho (about 3 hours from my parents) I had four small children and no family nearby. My husband was out of town for work and my one year old baby was very sick. It was the middle of the night and I was very nervous about my child’s condition and so I called my mom for advice and comfort. At the time my mom was in the middle of chemotherapy treatments for her cancer, so I was reluctant to call her in the middle of the night because I knew she wasn’t feeling well, but I was desperate for the comfort and peace that only a mother can give. I had no intention of asking her to come up to help me, I just needed to talk to her, but when I told her what was going on, she said she was going to come up, she and my dad left immediately so that my dad could help with my other children while my mom and I brought my baby to the ER. My mom had a chemotherapy treatment scheduled for that morning, but she rescheduled it so that she could come and help me. This is who my mom is; she puts aside her own needs to help and serve others.
Winning this giveaway would be life changing for my mom. Since my mom is missing several teeth, she is very self conscious. She often smiles with her mouth closed, she hates running into old friends, she is self conscious talking to anyone, she feels like she is unable to get any kind of customer service job. Also, there are certain foods that she is unable to eat. There has been several times that my mom eats something and pieces of her teeth break off. The ways that this giveaway would change my mom’s life are countless. This giveaway would be an incredible blessing in my mother’s life, which she would be forever grateful for.
2nd Runner Up - $2,500 off any dental treatment
Arie Dawn Ledkins Trahan
Arie was nominated by her mother. Arie's story shows just how quickly life can change forever in a blink of an eye.
I would like to nominate my daughter Arie Dawn Ledkins Trahan for the Mother's Day Giveaway Full Mouth Smile Makeover. Arie is 39 years old, a wife, and mother of 5 children. On January 25, 2014 while living in Alexandria, Louisiana with her husband and 5 children, she was struck by a drunk driver (she was walking by the side of the road,) the baby being merely 5 months old. I received a call from her husband informing me of the accident and that she wasn't expected to survive from the head trauma she had incurred. I flew to Louisiana as soon as I could get a flight to find her in a coma in ICU, unrecognizable, and connected to many tubes and life extending machines.
Though she was not expected to survive, she hung on to life. After 48 hours the doctors did a tracheotomy to remove her breathing tube. Her brain was bleeding in all 4 quadrants, which meant the pressure was highly elevated, though her skull had mercifully been fractured, which allowed the brain to swell with less restriction. After being in a coma for 3 weeks, completely non-responsive, the doctors reduced her life-sustaining machinery to see how she would react and her heart kept beating so the sustaining machines were continued. She remained unresponsive to all stimulus for another week. At the beginning of her 5th week in ICU, Arie began to react to my voice and her husband's voice, but would not respond to any of the caregivers. At this point her 2 sisters flew from Utah to Louisiana, leaving their husbands in charge of their children. Arie was able to respond to her sisters and finally to her caregivers. After another week she was prepared to be transferred to a neurological hospital in New Orleans.
Arie's husband stayed in Alexandria to continue to work and take care of the children, I traveled to New Orleans with Arie to help her through the neurological rehabilitation. After much struggle and Herculean effort, Arie learned to walk and talk again, though adjustments had to be made because the accident left her blind in her right eye as well as being left with cognitive, coordination and balance problems.
Because of the urgent need for lifesaving measures, her trach, learning how to swallow again, and other challenges her teeth were not addressed or even brushed for at least 6 weeks after the accident. Her most immediate medical needs were addressed, not her teeth. It wasn't discovered until several days before she was released from the hospital that nearly every tooth had been broken or cracked in the accident. Before she left the hospital I took her to a dentist who treated several abscessed molars and was told she had multiple molars that couldn't be saved. After being released from the hospital I took her to a dentist in Alexandria who extracted an additional 5 molars.
The man who struck Arie did not have auto insurance so there was no help with her medical bills until the hospital applied for Medicaid in her behalf. That insurance covered a portion of her hospital bills, but did not cover any dental.
Recognizing Arie and her family would need intensive help for some time we relocated her family to Utah where we could assist during the recovery period and beyond. In the ensuing months since the accident, Arie has had most of her teeth break off as she has not been able to afford dental care or obtain any dental insurance. She has experienced recurring abscesses, the most recent which landed her in the emergency room with intravenous antibiotic treatments for several days.
Arie and her family have suffered much as a result of this accident. The story I have shared is only the tip if the iceberg. We are trying to help Arie get to the point where she might be able to work again but she is not comfortable going out in public let alone applying for employment. Please consider extending your most gracious gift to this wonderful daughter, mother, wife who we hope faces many years of life. Her children have borne much teasing from other children...she is stared at and misjudged when in public...she suffers very low self-esteem. Your gift would give her not only confidence but many health benefits.
We want to thank every single person who took the time to write a nomination. It was so difficult narrowing down the choices let alone picking the winners. We are blessed to be surrounded by so many goodhearted, caring individuals right here in Utah. Congratulations to all the winners and stay tuned to see Lori's transformation throughout her smile makeover process.