Written by: Jeremy Baumhower
I am still recovering from something I witnessed and was able to be a small part of– that’s transpired over the last twenty-four hours.
Yesterday, I was asked to come to Kozy Dental, because they made a decision and picked iHeartGlassCity’s Mother’s Day Mouth Makeover winner. They told me they had booked an appointment with the lucky mom under false pretenses, saying they needed further x-rays and another dental exam..
I brought a film crew, Cullen Park Productions– I wanted to capture the moment, where you see a life change and the heart of a family put on display. A moment, like the one I have experienced.
Fixing mouths, I have learned– is not cheap. Not for the patient, nor the dentist. It costs way more than it should, and the dental industry does not have the markups you think it would. Dental insurance overall, is not that great. It’s the only part of our body that has to have separate insurance, and think about the proximity to the brain. Who made the decision to separate the mouth from our body when it comes to medical coverage?
As I walked into Kozy Dental, I was pulled aside by Marcia Kozy. Marcia is the wife of Dr. Paul Kozy and mother to Dr. Bridget and Dr. Jackie. She was also the person who green-lit this mom-makeover idea immediately.
Marcia tells me, “We’ve decided to make it two”. I was confused. I wasn’t following. She, seeing my confusion, clarified, “we are going to help two moms, and have two winners. We couldn’t decide, so we are going to do both”.
I was completely blown away. I could feel my lower lip start to quiver, the room was suddenly getting dusty.
I had interviewed the five finalists (on camera), to get their backgrounds, two weeks-prior. Their stories were all inspiring and heartbreaking. I knew how hard of a decision this was going to be. How much these women were hoping to win.
The Moms selected were Dodi and Lori.
Dodi is a single-mom of three grown children. Her husband and father of her babies, battled a mental illness. The disease won and his life was gone. Recently, her sister died unexpectedly, leaving her nephews without a mom and her without a best-friend. Dodi has been there for those boys, since she got the call. Dodi works with the public– she is suppose to be friendly and outgoing, which is hard when you do not smile.
Sometimes teeth pay the price for big hearts.
Lori is a mom and grandma. She is your classic Toledo mother. She puts everyone first, spending her “teeth money” on things like a car for her child, so they can work and her pets’ medical issues. The list of where and why her “teeth money” is spent is long and selfless. Lori has beaten cancer twice and has MS. She perfectly represents the toughness and spirit of this great city. Her son is getting married in August, and her daughter, Brie, wanted her mom to be able to smile in the wedding pictures.
Have you ever seen a person fill a room with their infectious and loving energy, while trying not to smile? This is Lori. Grateful for what she has, wanting nothing more in return.
In addition to a full new set of denture implants, Lori will be given a makeover by Ashlee Griggs at Modern Chic Salon & Spa. Ashlee heard her story and wanted to make sure she looked on point, for her son’s big day.
There is a video being edited right-now, that captures every beautiful moment. I am so excited that I’ll be able to share it with you.
These Kozys have changed my life. They are now changing the lives of two others.
They will never fully understand this gift they have given me. I am smiling. Do you know how weird and beautiful it feels at the same time?
i Heart this Glass City, and this family.
To meet this family of dental wizards, call 419-578-2380.
Here are the winning nominated letters:
Dodi’s daughter, Braelee, sent the following–
“My mother has experienced many hardships in life but has come through them all stronger than before. As a teenager she became pregnant at 16 years old and gave birth to my older sister a few weeks after turning 17. Not only had she become a mother at a young age but my sister was also born extremely pre-mature at 26 weeks. Five years later my brother and I were born. During our childhood my mother stayed at home until we were old enough to enter kindergarten and she soon enrolled in a local college with the hopes of earning a degree in Surgical Technology. Unfortunately many issues arised involving my father, who suffered from severe depression and anxiety and as a result my mom was unable to finish her degree. She spent years working odd jobs and eventually became a home health aide for a large company. By her hard work and dedication to her job she was eventually promoted from an aide to becoming a scheduler at the facility.
Although things were going well with her professional life, her home life was far from it. My father’s depression had worsened over time and he had become increasingly suidicial. He had turned to drugs instead of his prescribed medications to deal with his emotional pain, something I would learn later on as an adult. My mom always tried to shield us from what was going on at home and keep our home life as “normal” as possible, which I deeply appreciate. Unfortunately, my father committed suicide in 2004 leaving my mother to take care of the three of us alone. Although both of my parents were working my father was the “breadwinner” of the family and financially the loss was very difficult. Emotionally, the loss of my father torn my mother apart. My parents had been together since they were teenagers and this was extremely hard on her, not only because she had lost her closest friend but had no idea how to explain to her young children and teenage daughter why their father was no longer with us. Still she pushed forward and made sure us kids were taken care of the best she could. That’s the thing about my mother, she always puts everyone else before herself.
Just a few weeks ago my mother experienced another devastating loss. Her only sibling, my aunt, passed away very unexpectedly from a heart attack. And instead of focusing on her own loss my mother has spent time caring for the rest of the family. She has been a great source of support to my grieving uncle, having experienced an unexpected loss of a spouse at a young age herself. She has also been there continuously for my two young cousins who are dealing with the grief from the loss of their mom. Right now, I am not a mother but I can only hope to be as great as my mom is. She is caring, kind, and dedicated.
Winning this would mean the world to my mother. She has focused so much of her time and energy on helping others that she sometimes forgets to take care of her own health. Her warm smile is what has lifted the spirits of all that she encounters. Getting this makeover, will give her the chance to get her teeth fixed in a way that she never pursue on her own. I would love to see her confidence boosted with a bright, healthy smile, which I know you will be able to provide for her! Thank you for your considerations!”
Here is Brie’s nomination of her mom, Lori:
“I am nominating my Mom, Lori. My Mom has survived breast cancer, cervical cancer, and has been living with MS for many years. She has been in need of dental work for many years. She has been saving up her money, and every time she has saved up enough, something comes up. Whether it is a son in need of a new car, a daughter in need of help from a separation, or the house in need of some repair, she uses her “teeth” money to help. Once again she has the money to get work done, but now my little brother is getting married, and she is using her “teeth” money to help pay for the wedding. She is embarrassed to smile, and hates meeting new people, because she feels like all people can see are her front teeth falling apart in her mouth. All I want is for my Mom to feel confident and happy again. I am sure there are plenty of people as deserving, if not more deserving than my Mom, but to me, no one is more deserving. I know this would be the best gift I could ever give her.”
Stay Tuned for updates…