Noah’s Journey Part 2
By Meghan Franklin
We first met Noah two years ago when her story with us at the Abbotsford Food Bank’s free dental clinic began. As you may remember, Noah had grown up being bullied about her teeth, which drastically impacted her self-esteem. She went from having a carefree childhood, to worrying about hiding her smile from everyone around her. When Noah was in middle school she struggled with severe anxiety, which made going to school, interacting with peers or teachers, and having her photo taken extremely difficult. Noah knew that the root of what was causing this was her teeth, but she did not have access to any way to change this.
When Noah’s school counsellor approached Lala – the dental coordinator, to see if anything could be done to help Noah’s situation, Lala sprang into action to try to do something to help. Since the free dental clinic does not currently have anyone who can provide orthodontic care in office, she got in contact with Dr. Julia Ng and her team at Refine Orthodontics who were willing to help. Dr. Ng and the staff at Refine have been caring for Noah these past two years, and now Noah has finished with her braces and has had them removed! We had a chance to sit down with Noah to talk to her about the rest of her story, a couple days before her final orthodontic appointment.
Noah is now excited to be going into her final year of high school in the fall and is thriving in school; her grades have also improved, and she has had almost perfect attendance. She is now full of confidence, and no longer feeling anxious or embarrassed of asking questions in class, being in photos, or interacting with others. Noah’s journey has not been an easy one, but it has been a story full of hope and new beginnings.
When we asked Noah how her life has changed since we’ve seen her last she said: “The best way to describe it, is that I just feel like a completely new person.” She explained that she no longer worries about covering her face when she smiles or laughs, and her teeth are no longer the first thing people notice about her. She said that before her braces, she didn’t know how to smile. “I now have the confidence to go forward in life and talk to people and introduce myself.” “I’ve always had a story to tell,” she explained to us. “It’s weird now when I meet someone and they just think I’m an average girl. They don’t know all the struggles I went through with bullying and finding out I was able to get braces.”
We are so proud of Noah and the amazing transformation she has made. Thank you to the food bank dental clinic and Refine Orthodontics for helping Noah regain her confidence and making her future brighter. After graduating high school, Noah is interested in pursuing a career in something to do with children, or possibly becoming an elementary school teacher. Whatever Noah decides to do, we will be here cheering her on.