Fundraising Darwen teen backs her dentist's work in Tanzania

Fundraisers, from left, Caitlin Jones, Elaine Gaffney, Kiaran Weil and Natalie Thirsk

Fundraisers, from left, Caitlin Jones, Elaine Gaffney, Kiaran Weil and Natalie Thirsk

First published in News Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

AFTER six years of raising cash for cancer charities in memory of her dad, Caitlin Jones has a new cause to get her teeth into.

The 18-year-old fundraiser hosted a tombola at Saturday’s Darwen Day event in the town centre to help dental charity Bridge 2 Aid.

Every year, Caitlin’s dentist Kiaran Weil travels to Tanzania in a bid to radically improve dental hygiene in the developing country.

And as a thank you for all her help with treatment over the years, Caitlin wanted to raise £200 through the tombola, enough to pay for the equipment of one clinical officer, ahead of Kiaran’s next trip in January.

Mum Tracy said, as well as looking after Caitlin – who was born with Goldenhar Syndrome, a condition that brings a number of problems including poor development of the soft palate, lip and jaw – for the past nine years, she also saved her own teeth after a fall earlier this year.

Mrs Jones said: “When she first went to Kiaran at Bateman and Best Dental Practice, Caitlin wouldn’t even get in the chair.

“She spent weeks coaxing her from the door into the chair and they have developed a really special relationship over time.

“Then in February I had a fall and Kiaran helped save my teeth, so we wanted to do something to say ‘thank you’.”

Kiaran, 62, said although dental hygiene may not seem important in the grand scheme of things, it was very important.

She said: “When I first started going to Tanzania they had 300 dentists for 38million people.

“So if they get toothache it can cause a big problem.

“When we were there we saw an 11-year-old girl who had big abscesses on both sides of her mouth and all she needed was her teeth taking out.”

Kiaran, who has four children and four grandchildren who she said were all very supportive of her work in Tanzania, has been to the country 11 times and pays for the trips herself.

She works with dentists and helps train them to improve the dental care of the country.

But she needs to raise cash to pay for equipment and has appealed for donations from the public.

To help Kiaran, text ICARE to 704444 to donate £3.

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