Between now and the end of the year, the staff and Trustees will be doing all we can – to keep a roof over people’s heads, as well as fed, safe and warm. We also give additional support so that they can feel a sense of normalcy; ensuring the children of beneficiaries do not miss out on a present, or that no-one spends Christmas Day alone because they cannot afford to travel to their family.
The impact of the relatively small but incredibly caring and generous group that makes up the dental profession cannot be overstated.
The work we do is in the strictest confidence, but some recent grant recipients have kindly given permission to share their stories, to help increase understanding of the support given to those experiencing difficulties.
One beneficiary happy to speak about her experiences is Naomi, a graduate dental student. Her father was killed by a terrorist in 2004 and her mother is mentally and physically disabled, and so unable to work and provide an income.
In a final year, she received less student finance than previously and unfortunately her mother also had a stroke and needed 24-hour assistance. Therefore, Naomi was no longer able to work part-time to help make up the deficit and throughout the academic year, she travelled back to look after her mother whenever she could, including just before sitting exams. This added pressure meant she went to see a psychologist to deal with the stress. However, she bravely reached out for help:
‘The financial strain proved to be a huge burden on my studies and the BDA Benevolent Fund was there for me every step of the way, lifting a huge weight off my shoulders. Considering all the obstacles I faced, I do not think I would have graduated this year without this help.
‘I can’t thank the Charity enough and hope to help students who are in similar situations in the future, by donating when I will finally be working as a dentist after the long struggle.’
On another occasion…
A well-established dentist was diagnosed with encephalitis and associated epilepsy. The family faced mounting debt, had no income (his wife was also ill with cancer) and no savings. Adding to their troubles, encephalitis wasn’t listed as a critical illness in their insurance policy. A friend suggested he should approach the Charity for help. Speaking about his experiences, he commented:
‘I can honestly say I was expecting to be told “sorry we can’t help you”, but when the general manager, Laura, said she would take my case to the Trustees and ask them to look favourably on my situation, I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted.
‘The help that the BDA Benevolent Fund provided allowed me the time to sort out our finances and to recover sufficiently to go back to work. I would wholeheartedly recommend the BDA Benevolent Fund to my fellow professionals and would hope that they will continue to support this wonderful organisation. Without their support I really don’t think we would have survived. Thank you.’
Please donate online or send cheques payable to BDA Benevolent Fund c/o BDA Benevolent Fund, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS