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Ancora, Ballyphilip, Whites Cross, Cork

Going the extra sMILE

On June 26, 2014



Thank you so much for all the support and for sponsoring me on the 500miles4smiles walk recently in the Uk. I was delighted to represent Ireland. Initially I had thought about  sending money to the cause but I felt it necessary to travel and support Christina Chatfield and Sarah Murray because it’s actually about heightening awareness rather than raising money that was the important issue here. The aim of 500miles4smiles was an awareness about Oral cancer and dental anxiety. Christina walked 500 miles from Scotland to Brighton. I joined her for part of the journey at Retford in the Uk.

My own cousin was diagnosed  recently with oral cancer. It was detected by his dentist and diagnosed early. He was a regular attender. It was an aggressive form of cancer and needed two surgical operations. He got the all clear last week. We need to continue to heighten awareness of the importance of regular dental visits to screen for cancer and catch it early- early diagnosis, long term prognosis. Oral cancer kills more people than breast cancer and testicular cancer put together.

When I met up with Christina and Sarah in Retford we chatted about Oral cancer and HPV vaccinations and how girls are vaccinated but not boys. Then they got the maps out ! Map reading is my worst nightmare. Sarah dropped us to our starting point  in the 500miles4smiles van with a sat nav with an irish accent. Of course they said they got it especially for my visit ! I never imagined we would be making our way across fields and rough terrain. Did we get lost ? – yes we did but soon got back on track and even ventured down the bicycle lane on the A1 with a few beep beeps !

We made it  and I headed back to Manchester before getting a flight back to Cork.

Sarah Murray commented ‘I am pleased the walk went as well as it did, with raising awareness of the risk factors associated with mouth cancer. We actively encouraged and continue to encourage people to visit their dental practice while raising money for HYS and BDHF. I am in awe of Christina who hopped out of bed every morning to continue walking. The project is not over, although the walk is, and we will continue to raise awareness through various projects’.

If you have an ulcer or sore in the mouth that doesn’t heal or discomfort or pain in the mouth that doesn’t go away- get it checked. Dentists and Dental hygienists screen for oral cancer at every visit .

When was your last visit ?

Siobhan Kelleher RDH