The upcoming Madison Marathon taking place on Sunday, Nov. 12, in downtown Madison will also be an opportunity to support the mission of accessible dental health through Affordable Dental Care’s 6th Annual Smileathon taking place the same day from 7-10 a.m. at their clinic on mile 13 of the full marathon route.
Affordable Dental Care’s (ADC) Executive Director Areli Estrada spoke to Madison365 about the importance of the event as a fundraising opportunity in collaboration with the Madison Marathon as the clinic will also serve as a water station with refreshments as well.
“Our Smileathon is a peer-to-peer fundraiser, so this year we have runners running the marathon to support our mission,” Estrada told Madison365. “They have pledged to fundraise and really increase awareness about our mission, who we are, and what we do. The message is about how important dental health is, and how much it affects our overall well-being.”
Estrada stressed the encompassing nature of dental care that provides intangible benefits such as self-esteem and how people are perceived. Funds raised through the Smileathon will mostly be going towards the prospect of expanding to a larger space on Madison’s north side in 2024. The project that Estrada estimated as costing around $1.3 million would allow them to double their capacity and increase capabilities from already seeing an astounding 22 patients a day across two dentists which may be from sites like https://www.vanhoofdental.com/.
“So far, up to date since January, we have had 2,323 patients, and then 297 emergencies. The 297 emergencies are people that are already experiencing acute pain, or they come to us for the first time after they haven’t been able to access dental care anywhere else. We make it accessible and we are always seeing new patients,” said Estrada, happy that ADC is able to provide for those with the most need through financial support as well, even when their schedules are booked for months at a time.
“We serve a large number of older adults, so if older adults are retired and they lose access to their benefits, they come to us and everyone pays out of pocket. It could become a big problem if older adults go without taking care of their oral health needs.”
Besides serving a large number of older adults, ADC also stands out as being a crucial service for Spanish-speaking community members seeking dental health care. In addition, Estrada was happy to announce new translation technology that will be implemented through a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services that will allow ADC to continue providing quality care to non-English and non-Spanish speaking people.
Just as Estrada was sure that the service they provide goes beyond language and centers the care they give to their patients, the care and support of donors and collaborators are what Estrada says make the work possible and inspiring.
“I think that communication is more than verbally communicating and speaking,” Estrada said in closing. “It’s really more about our body language, the environment, the setting, and people pick up on that. I don’t think that we will lose that interpersonal touch with our patients because we have continuously worked with many people that speak another language, and not just Spanish…It’s been a great year with a lot of implementation of all the funds and grants that we have received. I’m just so thankful for the support of the donors, and people that continue to invest in our mission.”
To learn more about the upcoming Smileathon and how to get involved at Affordable Dental Care, visit their website here.