I was born with an aggressive rate 3 jaw growth. By 3rd grade my underbite was already fully developed, and it pushed my bottom lip out. Kids teased me about it for a while, and would stick their lips out to mock me. Then in 9th grade, the harrassment increased. I was actually bullied for having a big underbite; I was called names like "Jaws" "Captain Underbite" and "Crimson Chin." For the first year it stunk, and I felt like a weirdo. But then I embraced it, and owned it! I told myself that it was manly and strong.
Well... shortly after graduating high school in 2012, my dentist told me that if I didn't get my jaw fixed, I would likely end up with lock-jaw, meaning I wouldn't be able to open my mouth at all. If lock-jaw didn't occur, then when my teeth fall out, it would be impossible to get dentures due to the massive space my underbite would make. So I knew that braces and surgery were inevitable, even though money wasn't a very abundant thing in our family.
In Spring 2013, I began my two year mission in Detroit for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which cost $10,000. I returned to Spokane last year in April 2015. The dentist examined my teeth again and said that I should have the braces and surgery, otherwise I would largely regret it if I didn't. In May that year, my family went to Hawaii for my older brothers wedding, which exhausted our family funds. I worked in the San Franciso area of California to save up money for school in the fall. I returned to Spokane and had the braces put on and planned for the surgery, which will be the fall of this year, 2016. I was able to cover one semester with the money that I saved, but just barely getting through it with enought. In late December I returned to California and picked up another job, knowing that I needed to pay for two semesters since I would have a short summer break. In January this year, my dad lost his job. With that, we didn't lose only his income, but also the discount we would have had on gasoline, groceries, and other needed things. We also lost his health insurance. My mom and I have both been working and saving harder than before while dad looks for another job. We have even resorted to selling plasma, which is only $60 per week for me if I donate twice in one week.
So... our family is in a financial hole that hit us pretty unexpectedly. I've been skipping lunch every day, and I eat only early in the morning and late at night. I don't have that much money to spend on fun things, and I have saved up about $8,000 this winter, but most of it will go to school. My parents still have 6 kids at home, and only one of them has a part time job.
The money that I get from this program will go directly into paying for the medical expenses of my braces and surgery. The surgeon will remove the extra tooth that I have on the bottom, and adjust my jaw to give me a clean, straight cut like a person should have. The surgery will be sometime this fall, depending on how well my teach readjust from the braces.
I have really always wanted normal teeth. Eating basic food like sandwiches and burgers has always been difficult for me, because my teeth don't cut the meat or tomatos, and they end up just getting pulled out. Its absolutly embarrassing on dates or group outings. I want to be able to smile with my teeth and feel confident that my smile looks good, because back then my teeth made my smile look hideous; I ended up always doing a closed mouth smile. I want all that to change. I want to be able to eat like a normal person and smile like a normal person.
I plan on being a newsanchor one day, and I promise that this story won't go on unnoticed. My thanks will be made to everybody publicly at least twice a year, and whenever a report that is about donations or teeth. I will be sure to say "You know, I once was the recipient of a donation...." and then I would tell my story, look into the camera, and thank all of you for your help.
Thank you so much for reading. Please donate; your help is needed more than you understand.