2021 Mother's Day New Smile Giveaway Runner Ups
Choosing our giveaway winners is always incredibly hard, with so many amazing people sharing their stories picking only one can seem like an impossible task. That's why we'd like to recognize our runner ups for their amazing spirits, warm and giving personalities, and their kind hearts. Our second place winner Kendall Harris will receive $5,000 off her treatment and our third place winner Lynda Bottema will receive $2,500 off her treatment.
I would like to nominate myself, Kendall Harris, for the mother's day smile makeover giveaway.
I'm a 39 year old mother of four young children, ages 1, 3, 5, and 7, and we currently reside in Orem, Utah. I grew up in a proud military family, but I've lived in Utah since I attended college at BYU many years ago. I've been a resident of Utah since that time, and it is my home.
I was just 15 years old when I first developed an eating disorder. It was the summer before I entered high school, and the pressure to be thin and pretty was immense. What seemed like an innocent "diet" at first soon spiraled out of control and led me down a very dark and dangerous path. I was willing to do whatever it took to fit the stereotype of what the media told me I "should" look like as a young woman.
As I grew older, the pressure did not subside. In fact, it seemed to become more and more difficult to break free from the grasp that my eating disorder had on me. The thought of no longer fitting into that "box" terrified me even more than my declining health. I was not well.
When I was 31 years old, my husband and I discovered that we were expecting our first child, a baby boy. Suddenly, my state of health and well being was no longer just about me. I was going to be a mom! Knowing that another little life depended on me flipped a switch, and fitting into that box no longer seemed so important.
I would love to say that this is where my struggles ended, but unfortunately, that's just not true. While I knew what I needed to do and I now had the motivation and desire to do it, digging myself out of the trenches of disordered eating was still a daily struggle. Anyone who has experienced any sort of eating disorder or mental illness knows that it does not go away over night. I fought for my life, and there were days that I felt I had failed. I know I am not alone in these feelings, and if bringing awareness to my struggles can help even one girl or woman, it will have been worth it.
After many years of struggling, and fighting, and digging, I can honestly say I'm in a good place, and I'm the happiest and healthiest I've been in a very long time. I now have four children, and those beautiful children have saved me. However, after living with an eating disorder for 16+ years, though my health has been spared, my teeth have not. I'm missing at least 11 teeth, and almost every remaining tooth in my mouth is damaged beyond repair. I want to be an example of strength and confidence to my children, especially to my young daughter, who I know will soon begin to face the same pressures that contributed to my eating disorder. I'm not sure how to do that when I'm too self conscious to smile with my mouth open or even speak without putting my hand in front of my mouth to cover the damage that causes me to feel such shame and humiliation. Simply put, I want my outward appearance to reflect how far I've come rather than holding me back as it currently is.
As we begin to emerge from this pandemic and are once again able to see people's entire faces, I want to be able to greet those around me with a kind and genuine smile after so many difficult months of not being able to. I want to be free from the daily reminders of those dark years, that I have fought so hard to overcome, every time I look in the mirror. I want to not have to worry how my badly infected teeth will affect my health on any given day, or if I'll be able to keep up with my four small children as a result of the extreme pain and loss of energy that comes with abscessed teeth. I don't want to have to say "no" to things like pizza nights with my kids because I am no longer able to chew most solid foods as my remaining teeth are not strong enough. Most of all, I want to be the brightest example possible of happiness, confidence, and strength to my children, and I never want to doubt that I was the best mom that I possibly could have been to the amazing children that I'm so lucky call me "mom".
I know I've already shared so much, but I want to share one more integral part of myself that has been affected by my dental issues. I am proud to be a teacher. I've always had the heart of a teacher, and it's a career path I've had a desire to follow since I was a small child, and I'd play "school" with my friends. I got my first "real" taste of teaching when I began working as a substitute teacher at the age of 18. This experience just confirmed that teaching was what I was meant to do. While I was working on my degree, I chose to work as a tutor in an after school program for at risk youth. Through this program, we were able to give students a safe place to go each afternoon, while also providing academic support. I will never forget the feelings of gratitude I experienced as the result of doing something that I loved, which also made a difference in the lives of those amazing children, some of whom I remain in touch with to this day.
A few years later, I received my Bachelor's degree in elementary education, after which I taught first grade at an elementary school in Orem for several years. As someone who is a huge proponent of the performing arts, especially in elementary schools, I was also able to help run the after school drama program on a completely volunteer basis, contributing my own time and money to make it happen.
After 5 years as a full time elementary school teacher, I learned that my husband and I would soon welcome our first child. I gave up my beloved teaching position in order to care for him, but my teacher heart was soon beckoned to return to where I knew I was needed, and I quickly stepped into a position teaching English to students in China. I've been teaching in that capacity for the past several years, and I wake up at 4am, 7 days a week, in order to do the two things I love most-- continuing on my path as a teacher while having the opportunity to care for my children full time.
I care so deeply for my students, and I've been able to establish an extremely positive relationship with many of them. However, seeing my face close up in my webcam every morning has become a huge struggle. I want to be able to greet my students with a confident and genuine smile, but just as I find myself hiding my teeth as much as possible in my interactions with friends and family, I can feel my confidence slipping with each online class that I teach. As a teacher, it is SO important for me to be a constant source of positivity and certainty for my students. However, as the condition of my teeth continues to deteriorate, I fear I will no longer be able to do one of the things that I love most, because I will no longer be capable of being the teacher that my students deserve and need. My face is the first thing, and one of the only things my students see when I log into my virtual classrooms each day, and I want them to be able to look at me and see that positivity and certainty that is such an essential part of teaching (and learning). As a teacher, I am able to say so much to my students through a simple smile. As the condition of my teeth continues to worsen, I know that it will only be a matter of time before my smile, which provides kindness and reassurance, will be slip away completely.
I visited Stubb's dental exactly 3 weeks prior to learning about this giveaway, and my experience there was so positive! From the moment I entered the office, from the receptionists, to the dental assistant, to the dentist, to the finance department, I was treated with nothing but kindness and respect. Unfortunately, as a mother to four small children whose needs will always take priority over my own, I quickly came to the heartbreaking realization that being able to pay for this procedure, which I so desperately need and want, would simply not be plausible. When I received the email about this giveaway, it felt like a glimmer of hope in the midst of the uncertainty, pain, and embarrassment of living with missing and failing teeth as a young mother. I want to thank you from the greatest depths of my gratitude for the opportunity to apply for a procedure that would be, quite literally, life-changing!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my nomination. I know it's very long, but I wanted to paint the clearest possible picture of who I am, why I deserve to be chosen for this giveaway, and why this procedure would mean so much to me. Having this done would not only give me back my smile, it would give me back my life.
I am nominating my mother for the mothers day makeover.
My mother is the most loving and giving person ever. She had me when she was 23 and almost died in the process so the drs told her she could not have any more children so at the age of 24 she had a full hysterectomy. My father and her knew their family was not complete so they decided to put adoption papers in. They waited 8 years until a birthmother picked our family and my first brother was placed in our home. They then again placed papers in 2 more times to complete my family. I am forever grateful for these loving birth mothers who gave me siblings and allowed my siblings to be raised in a wonderful home.
My mom has a heart of gold and will serve anyone and anyhow she can. She has taken birthmothers who were preparing for adoptions in, her parents, her in laws and over 20 foster children over the years. At one point she had 9 children in her care. We always had so much love, and support from her. She has always put everyone before herself.
My parents bought a home in Clearfield and made it the home of their dreams and thought it was there forever home. In October 2020 my father became ill and was taken to the ICU where he spent 20 days there on life support. During his stay she was caring for him on day 4 and tripped on a cord and fell and broke her nose and shoulder resulting in a full shoulder replacement at the age of 58. After 5 days in the hospital she was released but was then unable to spend any more time caring for my father or able to be at his bedside. After 20 days the doctors had done everything they could to save his life but unfortunately they were not able to so we had to make the heartbreaking decision to terminate care and take him off life support. He never came to and we were not able to say good bye.
Over the next 3 months dealing with the reality of becoming a widow at 58, recovering from shoulder surgery, and losing the sole bread winner of the household, she has realized she is unable to keep the home and pay bills so we are preparing to sell the home and find her a new place to live, which is another loss in itself.
She had some dental pain and since there was no money she had to have some teeth pulled because that was the cheapest option. She has also had some bone loss so the 4 in 1 in the very best option for her but financially not possible.
She has lost so much self worth and is severely depressed. She is truly the very best person around and so deserving of this makeover.
Winning this would change her life in so many ways, it would allow her to show her smile, be something GOOD after a year of so much heartache and pain and give her so much confidence and happiness to keep living for the rest of her family. Her grand babies want to see the happy smiling grandma again instead now they see a masked grandma cause she is so embarrassed by her teeth.
At 36 I never thought I would lose a parent and it has been the most heartbreaking thing to lose my father. I can not even imagine the amount of grief and loss she is dealing with.
I am so incredible grateful for this type of giveaway offer from your business. it is going to bless someones life tremendously.
We truly appreciate everyone who entered our giveaway or submitted a nomination. There are so many amazing people in our community and we truly wish we could give them all the smile they deserve. Thank you all for participating and sharing your stories.