SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFSM) — The 13th annual Arkansas Mission of Mercy took place April 12 and 13 in Springdale. The event provided free dental care for thousands of people across the state.
Over 750 volunteers were in attendance and event coordinators said they planned to provide care for nearly 2,000 patients over the weekend.
One woman was so overwhelmed with emotion after she said she was given a gift that has changed her life.
Becky Bowlin said she is missing teeth and has been in need of dental care for the last year. She said a hardship in life left her without the means to get her teeth fixed.
"My husband had gotten real sick and we lost our dental and vision coverage so this has been a blessing because we had no way," Bowlin said.
Bowlin said she saw a flyer for the event, but she never expected to leave with a new smile.
"To be given this gift to have them extracted is what I came here hoping for, to have the bad one out and the broken ones taken out also and then the opportunity to have a partial today too, it’s life-changing," Bowlin said.
The dentists and surgeons here today said giving back to the community and helping patients like Bowlin is what this event is all about. Just today alone they have treated over 800 people.
"It’s not about money whether they have it or not but it’s their dental needs and we have the privilege of just literally just treating their dental needs which is a wonderful thing," ??? said.
"We have people who come in here with their hands over their mouth and they come back and they are grinning when they leave because we gave them something to smile with," ??? said.
Bowlin was one of those patients.
"I had gotten to the point where I did leave my house or smile because I’m so embarrassed of my smile," Bowlin said.
After a year of hiding her teeth, Bowlin received what she said was the greatest gift.
The dentists and surgeons said it's not about how many patients they see, but about seeing everyone who comes in.
If you are wanting to receive car, you can start lining up at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Springdale around 5:30 a.m. Saturday, April 13.