Vancouver Island dentist surprises family in need with $35K in free care

A chance meeting at a hairdresser has changed the life of a young woman who's raising her five siblings. Kylie Stanton reports.

A Vancouver Island family that’s experienced more than its share of challenges is reaching out to say thank you for a helping hand.

Marina Miller has been raising her five much-younger half-siblings for the past ten years. The 36 year-old stepped into the role after her parent’s mental illness hit a breaking point.

She has been supporting the kids, now aged 13-19, without any outside funding. Miller said, it hasn’t always been easy.

READ MORE: Premier John Horgan opens door to including dental coverage within B.C.’s health care system

“You know, there’s been lots of hard days and lots of challenging days,” she said.

“But I think overall, this job has taught me more than a regular job ever would have. We’ve had our bumps and bruises along the way.”

Dental coverage could be in next NDP budget: Horgan
Dental coverage could be in next NDP budget: Horgan

Most recently she’s been struggling with how she was going to come up with the money to pay for their dental care, estimated at a cost of $35,000.

Story continues below advertisement

But a chance meeting at her hairdresser’s with the office manager of Otter Point Dental put things in motion.

READ MORE: Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath pitches public dental plan

“Joanna happened to be sitting in the seat and said nothing for about 10 minutes, and just kind of overheard this conversation the hairdresser Gail and I were having,” said Miller.

“And [she] looked up from her phone and said, ‘I want to help you.'”
B.C. to increase number of annual dental surgeries
B.C. to increase number of annual dental surgeries

She shared the story with Dr. Tera Groff at Otter Point.

“It was [a] no-brainer, like it was same day, ‘let’s just get them into the office.'”

Since then, assessments have been made and wisdom teeth have come out. Groff said the care will continue for as long as the kids need it.

READ MORE: Overcoming barriers to affordable dental care

“We have three going and we’ll have a fourth. They have one brother with perfect teeth.”

At roughly $7,000 a case, Miller is still in shock at the generosity.

“There aren’t even words for that tremendous gift.”

Story continues below advertisement

Now, she’s sharing her story, in hopes of inspiring others to step up and lend a hand. Miller said a little support can make all the difference.

“This is just an example of someone going above and beyond for another stranger in the community.”