Riders today (April 27, 2017) hit the road for the second annual Bright Smiles Charity Ride raising vital funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Starting at Wiseman’s Ferry, just north of Sydney, the 18 riders are travelling more than 1200km along the back roads, enjoying overnight stays at Coolah, Dubbo, where they will visit the Royal Flying Doctors base, and Canowindra.
Last year, the inaugural Bright Smiles Charity Ride raised more than $40,000 to support the Royal Flying Doctors South Eastern Section’s oral health service. So far, donations are almost at $18,000.
Bright Smiles is the motorcycling offshoot of the Outback Car Trek, a week-long annual bush pilgrimage featuring more than 100 pre-1978 vintage cars. The OBT has raised more than $25 million for the Royal Flying Doctors since its inception in 1990 and will embark on its 28th Trek from Griffith to Port Macquarie in June.
“Bright Smiles and the OBT are supporting dental health because we know through our long association with the RFDS SE that it is such an important pillar of healthcare,” says OBT and Bright Smiles organiser Bill Patrick.
“We were delighted to contribute towards the recent expansion of the dental health teams in Dubbo and Broken Hill and the purchase of a new dental van. This will allow the RFDS SE to offer dental health and education to more rural and remote communities in Western and Far Western NSW.
“Over the next few years we are hoping to grow the event so we can continue to support the great work the RFDS SE dental teams do.”
The Bright Smiles riders will visit the RFDS SE Base at Dubbo on Saturday to look over an aircraft, inspect the new dental van and meet the team who have helped to restore dental health to some of NSW’s most vulnerable and remote communities.
The dental van has just completed its maiden trip around Western NSW providing clinics and oral health education to communities without an airstrip or who are not on our current clinic roster. On this trip it visited; Enngonia, Yunta, Angledool, Goodooga and Lightning Ridge. On its way back to Broken Hill it will visit Yunta and the Coombah roadhouse (Wentworth).
“We’re very keen to get that message out into the community, as I don’t think most people realise how poor oral health can impact them,” says RFDS SE Senior Dentist, Dr Lyn Mayne.
“Oral disease, particularly when left untreated, is associated with certain cardiovascular diseases, respiratory illnesses, and other chronic diseases. Other common conditions such as endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart), stroke, aspiration pneumonia, diabetes, kidney disease, and some adverse pregnancy outcomes, are also associated with poor oral health.”
Since its launch in 2012, the Dubbo dental team have provided over 1,100 clinics and treated almost 7,000 patients in the communities of Bourke, Collarenebri, Goodooga and Lightning Ridge, where access to dental care was either non-existent or extremely challenging.
“Our primary goal is to reduce the well-documented gap in health and wellness between those living in remote, rural and regional areas and those in cities, but we can’t do it alone,” says Greg Sam, Chief Executive Officer of the RFDS SE.
“To that end, the great fundraising work that the Bright Smiles and Outback Car Trek participants do on our behalf will put bright smiles on many more faces over the coming years.”