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'There's angels among us:' Cancer survivor to receive new dentures
A Halifax cancer survivor who lost all of her teeth will soon be sporting a new set of dentures, thanks to the kindness of strangers.
Sheri Hendsbee says she lost her teeth as a result of the medication she is taking, and that has left her severely depressed.
She says she doesn’t feel comfortable leaving her home, and has only been able to eat soup, scrambled eggs and jello for the last five months.
Hendsbee, a single parent, can’t afford dentures, and Medicare won’t cover the cost, but multiple Maritimers offered to help after her story aired on CTV News.
“The news wasn’t even over. I couldn’t believe it,” says Hendsbee.
“If my mom were here today, she always used to tell me that there’s angels among us that walk on the face of the earth, and to me, that’s what those people are.”
Denturist Gabriel Wortman says Hendsbee will have a new set of dentures, free of charge, by this time next week.
“My heart went out to her,” says Wortman. “There’s so many ways for people to get dentures, but it seems like the people who really need them are the people who are getting left behind.”
“The first thing I want to do is go and have a steak and French fries and coleslaw,” says Hendsbee. “I have grandchildren and I so want to take them places and do things with them and now I’ll be able to do that stuff and not be ashamed or embarrassed.”
While Hendsbee has found a solution to her problem, many Nova Scotians struggle to access affordable dental care.
Dr. Rod Wilson, executive director of Halifax’s North End Community Health Centre, says roughly 80 per cent of the centre’s clientele have difficulty accessing dental care, and many are adults who have never been to a dentist.
“Access is a big issue and dental care is what I say is the best example of two-tiered health care,” says Wilson. “If you’ve got benefits, you can get great service. If you don’t have benefits…you really don’t have the cash to get to see a dentist.”
Wilson says he is trying to find funding to hire a consultant to look into better dental care solutions.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell