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Help raise vital funds in the Bright Smiles Charity Ride

Members can help raise vital funds allowing patients in some of Australia’s most hidden areas to access dental treatment.

ADA NSW Board member Dr Chris Wilson and his wife Jeanine are joining other keen motorcyclists in the Bright Smiles Charity Ride, raising tens of thousands for the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) Dental Outreach Program.

Using fly-in, fly-out, mobile and outreach delivery models, the RFDS provides thousands of episodes of dental care every year to patients in some of the most remote parts of Australia who would otherwise struggle to access treatment. It relies on a mixture of philanthropic grants, other donations and State Government funding to provide its work.

The group will cover a circuit of almost 2,000 kilometres across a swathe of NSW and Victoria on the four-night journey, which starts this Thursday (29 April). Starting in 2016, the charity ride is a spin-off of the Flying Doctors fund raising Outback Car Trek. Dr Wilson and wife Jeanine participated in that inaugural ride.

“We had such a good time and it was successful enough that the Fundraising Coordinator Bill Patrick decided to try and run one every year,” Dr Wilson said. “I was signed up to do 2017 too but had a boating accident two days before in which I broke my fingers so that was me out.

"This is the fourth event for Jeanine and I and generally there have been 12 to 20 bikes and everybody pays their own expenses and undertakes to raise at least $1250 for the Flying Doctors Dental Outreach Program.”

The Dental Outreach program started with money donated from the Gonski Foundation and was used to provide a regular monthly or fortnightly dental service to the regional towns of Bourke, Collarenebri, Goodooga and Lightning Ridge. These are all towns that can in some cases be hundreds of kilometres from the nearest dentist. The directors of the Flying Doctor Service realised from that initial foray that these remote services were beneficial and continued to fund them even after the initial funding dried up.
“These services certainly help to provide some access to people who have none and as such I see it as complementary to the stuff the branch is encouraging with Filling the Gap which by and large is logistically restricted to places where there is a dental surgery who can volunteer their services,” Dr Wilson said. 

“I think one of the things that brought home to me how different things can be, even in parts of our own state, was a conversation I had with one of the Oral Health Therapists at the Flying Doctor base in Dubbo when we visited on the first ride.
“She said when she first visited the infants school at Goodooga only 10 per cent of the kids said their family had a toothbrush. Thus she felt one of the greatest contributions they made to outback oral health was handing out toothbrushes! I think it’s a great cause and I am always amazed at how well thought of the Flying Doctor Service is wherever we go.”

How to donate and further information:

For more information on the ride and the work of the RDFS, visit www.brightsmilescharityride.com.au

Donations can be made by visiting the website and searching for ‘Dr Wilson’ in the Donations box.

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