Restore My Teeth & My Self-Worth

UPDATE: THANK YOU!
After the amazing demonstration of love and generosity displayed by my family, friends, and even people I only know through Facebook, I have enough to make my greatest wish come true.

Those who know me well will be shocked to hear this, but it's true. I simply do not have the words to express the profound gratitude I feel for this new lease on life that has been gifted to me by you - the people I truly love most.

But those selfsame people also know that I am compelled to try. ;)

One day you believe that you are condemned to live the way you dread most - living a life cut off from doing the thing that gives you immense joy. How can you live without connecting - really connecting, face-to-face, and smile-to-smile - with your people & the greater community at large? And then literally a few days later you find out how...

Through love. Through generosity. Through the indefinable human connectedness of those very people whom you need. You realize that you have been gifted a new lease on life. You have a fresh chance to reconnect with the very people who have chosen to reconnect with you.

With me.

So, I will close this chapter of my story, and I will turn the page. I will take this gift of love and use it to craft a new chapter, an exciting & unexpected twist in my tale. I don't know where my story will go, but I do know how this chapter will begin...

...With a smile.
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UPDATE: Quick update regarding my GoFundMe campaign. I have had multiple people contact me, asking me to reopen it so that they can donate. I was planning on getting the middle of the road dentures, but if anyone still wants to donate I'll take it and use it to upgrade the quality I get.

Please Note: Because of the generosity and love shown to me over the last few days, I absolutely have what I need to get the surgery and a decent set of dentures. This means that I don't NEED any more donations; but if you want to help me get better ones, I would be very grateful.

I'll leave the campaign open until Sunday night.

Thanks again for your generosity. You, my friends, have made a dream come true.

--Rocky
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UPDATE:   I HAVE SURPASSED MY GOAL!!
THANK YOU. These simple words are inadequate to convey the profound gratitude I have. When I posted my GoFundMe campaign a couple of days ago, I never expected to get $1,000 in donations - much less surpass my goal.

This morning (Thursday) was Christmas, my birthday, and Father's Day all rolled into one - either that, or I was dreaming. Thanks to my unbelievably generous friends, I HAVE $6,116 IN DONATIONS!!!! This means I can get a higher quality set of choppers, and have enough to cover any unforeseen expenses related to this procedure.

Once again THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart. I am a better man because of you.

--Rocky
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The pictures above show how I used to look - happy and smiling. But I don't look that way anymore; let me explain.

Life Was Going Pretty Great...
Throughout my life I've been the guy who always feels at home in a crowd. I love meeting new people and making new friends. But most of all I love collaborating with people - working with others towards a common goal. It's why I wanted to be a teacher in my younger days; and when that didn't work out, it's why I went into software development & consulting.

While I love consulting, I could not deny the teacher in me. So I began speaking at technology conferences throughout the US and Europe. And people say I was good at it too. I was never more happy than when I was giving a session to help others learn - and to learn something from them in return. I didn't care if I was on a stage, or sitting across from someone at a table - if I was teaching, I was happy.

... Until It Wasn't
Well, all of that has ended. I cannot bring myself to go out at all, much less go in front of a crowd anymore, because of my teeth. Due to multiple unfortunate reasons - undetected side-effect of a medication, hyperacidic stomach, etc. - the enamel was completely eroded from my teeth.

Once I discovered this, it was too late. My teeth have continued to deteriorate, and as of right now I only have two caps in the upper front of my mouth - the rest are either completely gone or are just little bits sticking out. Because of this, I cannot eat anything but soft foods. I live on yogurt and Boost/Ensure.

I'm Ashamed
As you can imagine, my self-confidence is pretty low. My mouth looks like I'm some kind of meth addict. I'm horribly embarrassed. I am ashamed to smile, and I avoid going out at all. I don't even go out with my family when I come home each month. I cannot bring myself to go out in public if I can help it - and it's killing me.

My embarrassment extends to my workplace as well. I tend to look away or open my mouth as little as possible when I speak, I only grin and never smile, and I cover my mouth when I laugh. And it hurts.

And I really want to be able to be a part of my family again. I want to go out with them and not feel like I'm an embarrassment to them, because I absolutely know I am. I also want to re-engage with my extended work community, and maybe even start speaking again; but I can't do that until I get my mouth cleaned up and get dentures.

Why I'm Here, Hat In Hand
I have a great job, but there's one major disadvantage to it - it's 600 miles away from my home in Flowery Branch, GA. You see, the best job I could find was with the US Army JAG Corps at Fort Belvoir, VA (just South of DC). So I'm supporting two households - mine here in Virginia, and my family home back in Flowery Branch. This means that, as the sole breadwinner in the family, money is tight. I just don't have an extra dime to spend. All of my money goes to the monthly expenses and keeping my children happy and healthy. Family ALWAYS comes first, especially over my health.

I Need Your Help - Please
So I've come to GoFundMe in the hopes of getting the funds I need to get the necessary oral surgery and dentures. I've priced it out, and with my dental insurance the entire thing will cost $5,000**. A lot of the surgery is covered by insurance, but Affordable Dentures  (the cheapest place I've found to get dentures) doesn't take insurance - so I have to come up with all of the money up front. I'm not trying to get the best dentures, either; just something that looks nice. But, I'll take what I can get - anything is better than the way I'm living now.

A Second Chance
Getting dentures will give me a new lease on life. I never realized how important your teeth are to your self-esteem; now I know. If you can find it in your heart to help me, you will be giving my children their dad back, and this "old man" his self-esteem back.

Thank you for your time.

**I've added an extra $500 to cover the miscellaneous fees charged by GoFundMe

Donations (0)

  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 35 mos
  • Kerr Rainey 
    • $50 
    • 35 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 35 mos
  • Ben Poole 
    • $40 
    • 35 mos
  • Vitor Pereira 
    • $50 
    • 35 mos

Organizer 

Rocky Oliver 
Organizer
Alexandria, VA
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