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Madison Root is a remarkable young lady from Portland, Oregon who has made national news in the last week. My Patients, Team and I share some common values with her, and I’d like to introduce you to her story.

Madison comes from a family with entrepreneurial spirit, and harvested mistletoe from her grandfather’s farm to sell at a local market to help fund her braces. She had some logistical problems with the city barring her from doing so, and was told that she should consider begging for money as an acceptable alternative, which was in accordance with city ordinance.

The story resonates with me  for many reasons.

Unfortunately, most of the interviews she has done in the last week have focused on the part of the story regarding the security personnel and being “encouraged to beg.” This overshadows the huge functional and psychological benefits that orthodontics can provide, but you can tell that Madison “gets it”, obviously valuing enough of what braces can do for her to work to invest in her own treatment.

In hearing her story, it immediately brought me back to learning about Jerene, a girl who began treatment with us back in 2006. Jerene’s situation was very different due to her illness, but her desire for braces was the same. Although not selling mistletoe, Jerene wanted to invest her Make-a-Wish in orthodontic treatment. The Jerene’s Wish Program is the legacy to that life changing belief she had about the power of a smile.

We have a program called the BRACES Project that we’ve come up with for children that are motivated similarly to Madison, wanting the opportunity to give back in order to contribute to their parent’s investment in their treatment. To date, over 6300 volunteer hours have been donated to local organizations in need by the BRACES Project. In return, the Patients receive a reduction in their treatment investment as well as the fulfillment of contributing to a great cause.

Madison has a website for selling the mistletoe, and I ordered some myself this morning to help support this young girl’s efforts. We’ll plan on giving some away next week to our Patients and I’ll take some home to my four daughters and hopefully inspire them with the story of this amazing girl who is very likely going to “Change the World” with her work ethic and future smile!