Local Woman Pays it Forward

Apr. 8, 2016

hands holding a  heartAn act of kindness from her dentist motivated a local woman to pay it forward.

“During my regular checkup, the hygienist noticed a black spot on one of my teeth,” she said. “He drilled it out and repaired it, and never charged me for it.

“I thought that was really nice,” continued the woman, who is retired from her career with the Rochester city school district.  “I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I can afford dental treatment – there are people in Rochester who can’t.”

That’s when she thought of Eastman Dental, established 100 years ago by George Eastman to help the city’s indigent children receive dental treatment.  While Eastman Dental, part of UR Medicine’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health, does not give free services, providing treatment to the area’s underserved community remains a large part of its mission. This includes people who are living in poverty, children and adults with developmental disabilities or who have medically complex conditions often struggle with access to dental treatment.

After learning about some different opportunities to help people who can use assistance, she sent a check – on one condition: that she remains anonymous.

Pay it ForwardShe strives to live by the philosophy of  Moses Maimonides, a rabbi, scholar, and physician who died in the early 1200’s.  “Give anonymously to an unknown recipient” is at the top of the Golden Ladder, a guide he established to the significance of a charitable gift. The further one goes up the ladder, the more virtuous and meaningful the gift. Giving adequately after being asked is number five and giving unwillingly is the last on the list.

For her,  giving anonymously to an unknown recipient is the true definition of charity.

She chose her generous gift to help patients who recently completed cancer treatment and need dentures or partials, and for families with babies born with cleft lip and palate, many who travel up to three hours to Eastman for specialty care each week during their baby’s first three months of life.

On behalf of the patients who will benefit from her kindness, Eastman Dental thanks her.