ST. CLOUD | Beth Wormald, a resident at Bishop Grady Villas, received a new smile thanks to support from a loving community.
Wormald does not have any family nearby, but frequently visits the home of her roommate, Caitlin Shields and has become close to the family. Caitlin’s mother, Connie Shields, said she tries to support and love Beth as family.
“I think about my daughter, Caitlin, and know how much she loves living at Bishop Grady, (but) Caitlin is able to come home frequently and be surrounded and loved by her family,” Shields said. “I realize that Beth is missing this huge aspect of life and that touches me.”
On one visit, Shields noticed how Wormald was missing multiple teeth. She had trouble chewing, and experienced pain due to tooth decay. She would often cover her mouth when smiling, aware of the gaps in her teeth.
Shields brought Wormald to their family dentist, Dr. Kevin Bonn, to see what type of dental work she needed. Because Wormald had no insurance, the total cost of her dental work was estimated at more than $14,000.
However, Bonn, a parishioner at Nativity Parish in Longwood, decided to donate his time and dental expertise to fix Wormald’s teeth at no cost.
The makeover took about three months to complete. Bonn said persons with disabilities have a special place in his heart.
“I have a child that is on the spectrum. It makes it a little bit more personal,” he said.
The dentist credited Shields in making Wormald’s transformation possible, especially since she transported Wormald to her dental appointments. After the work was completed, Shields sent Bonn a photo of Beth at the Harvest Ball with her new smile.
“That was amazing to see Beth in that light,” Bonn said. “Her face really lit up and she looked gorgeous.”
All the residents at Bishop Grady Villas sent Bonn a hand-written note and chocolates, thanking him for helping Wormald.
“I spent the evening opening up all my little envelopes and it was quite touching,” he said. “I just look up to heaven and say you do receive more than you give.”
Shields said she noticed how Wormald’s self-esteem rose tenfold and she no longer covers her mouth when she smiles. Wormald was grateful for everyone who helped achieve her new smile.
“I’m very thankful for Dr. Bonn for being so supportive and I’m very thankful for Caitlin and her mom,” she said. “If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what I would have done.”