In a television interview on August 18, a shy 13-year-old tells the camera “I’m fine, it’s ok.” But constant work to hide her own smile gives away the fact that something is clearly wrong. Shakare Thompson’s teeth lost their enamel, and appeared as if almost her entire mouth had begun to decay.
She cringed when hot foods would sting her sensitive nerves and cover her mouth when cold foods would do the same. Thompson knew the problems expanded beyond what could be seen, reaching all the way to her roots and posing a threat for serious health problems in the future. However, perhaps the most detrimental aspect to Thompson at 13 years old was how she hid her vibrant personality in fear of feeling vulnerable or different. Inhibited by her teeth, she worked hard to avoid smiling or laughing – a true personality trait.
Entering high school she wished for one thing: restoration on her teeth. One thing that for her granted intangible meanings of comfort, security, joy and success. One smile that would give her a life back.
Thompson’s story aired on Inspire Jamaica, a segment on the national news in which the young girl became vulnerable and hoped that someone with the means to help and the compassion to take action was watching the show.
He was. Joe Wright, Great Shape! Inc. Executive Director watched the show the same day it aired only a short distance away. Joe Wright was Thompson’s miracle.
Wasting no time, Wright called the television studio and requested the girls contact information. As a prominent part of the country for years, Great Shape! was already set up in Jamaica, where a dedicated and charitable team was already restoring the smiles of thousands of young Jamaicans. Within less than a week, Wright had arranged transportation for Thompson to the clinic where the multiple dentists would see what they could do.
Thompson hoped the doctors would evaluate her situation and decide if there was any action to be taken. If she was lucky, she assumed they would call her back for a later date. After ten minutes in the Great Shape! clinic, she realized that wasn’t how they worked. After thirty minutes, she put on her bravest face and sat in the operating chair where dentists began resorting her teeth and cosmetically enhancing them.
After two hours, the young girl did something that brought tears to the eyes of many – she looked into the same camera she looked away from two weeks before, and smiled.
In a television interview that aired on September 8, a smiling 13-year-old girl tells the camera, “I’m fine.”