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Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith

Health Reporter, Missouri Health Talks and KBIA

Stories with Rebecca Smith

'Do They Want to See Him When He's 55 Years Old? I Don't Think So'

'Do They Want to See Him When He's 55 Years Old? I Don't Think So'

Kelley Thorson lives in Pulaski County with her husband, Donald, and their three sons. I have known Kelley for years, as my Dad was her son Kyle’s teacher.

Her youngest son Kyle has a very rare, severe disability called Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. According to the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation, there are at least 1,400 cases worldwide.

Kyle is now a fully-grown, 24-year-old man and is also non-verbal, so Kelley spoke with me about the anxiety she is experiencing now that Kyle has reached adulthood.

Jon Reagan on Oral Health at Home and Abroad

Jon Reagan on Oral Health at Home and Abroad

Jon Reagan is a dentist in Neosho, Mo., who has been practicing for almost 20 years. We met as he volunteered at the sixth annual Missouri Mission of Mercy (MOMOM). This is a once a year, two-day dental clinic providing free care for anyone who’s willing to wait in line. It’s in a different place every year, and this year the event was held in Joplin.

Nine years ago, Jon began visiting North Belize as a medical missionary, helping people with extractions and oral health care education. He spoke about the similarities he sees between the oral health issues in rural communities in Missouri and in Belize, as well as his passion for volunteering at MOMOM.

Terri Rose on her Unexpected Takeaway from the Sixth Annual MOMOM

Terri Rose on her Unexpected Takeaway from the Sixth Annual MOMOM

Terri Rose is an RN from Webb City, Missouri. We met as she worked the medical triage at the sixth annual MOMOM. This is a once a year, two-day dental clinic providing free care for anyone who’s willing to wait in line. It’s in a different place every year, and this year the event was held in Joplin.

Terri is currently on disability benefits, but says she wanted to come volunteer her time as a nurse and help at the event. We caught up about her experience working MOMOM and about an unexpected takeway from the weekend as workers began breaking down on Saturday evening.

Brenda Nichols: 'You Wonder How You're Gonna Get Stuff Taken Care Of'

Brenda Nichols: 'You Wonder How You're Gonna Get Stuff Taken Care Of'

Brenda Nichols lost her father in the 2011 tornado that decimated Joplin, Missouri, but she says this is far from the only hardship she has faced in her 68 years. She is a 20 year survivor of breast cancer and has struggled to get oral health care in the past few years.

We met as she waited in line to receive care at the sixth annual MOMOM, which is a once a year, two-day dental clinic providing free care for anyone who’s willing to wait in line. It’s in a different place every year, and this year the event was held in Joplin.

Brenda, who lives in Carl Junction, Missouri, seems to always be smiling and remains optimistic, but says she “never dreamed” she and her husband would struggle this much as they got older, and she spoke about some of the difficulties she and her husband face getting care.

Jack Gouverneur Reflects on a Lifetime of Dental Care

Jack Gouverneur Reflects on a Lifetime of Dental Care

Jack Gouverneur is an 86-year-old Korean War veteran who lives in Carthage, Missouri. Last month, over the course of a weekend, he waited in line for hours to get free dental care at the sixth annual MOMOM or Missouri Mission of Mercy.

MOMOM is a once a year, two-day dental clinic providing free care for anyone who’s willing to wait in line. It’s in a different place every year, and this year the event was held in Joplin, Missouri.

Jack does have dental insurance, but said MOMOM happened at the "right time," and allowed him to get three teeth extracted without having to pay his insurance co-pays. He reflected on the dental care he has received throughout his 86 years.

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