Lions give the gift of new smile

If you spot a woman sharing big toothy smiles with everyone, it’s probably Sue Lindgren of Duncan.

If you spot a woman sharing big toothy smiles with everyone, it’s probably Sue Lindgren of Duncan.

She was crying tears of joy Thursday, Dec. 3 when she dropped in to the Citizen to share her happy story.

“Three years ago I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic, at my age. In trying to get used to that, I kind of messed up. The result was that, last April, the ambulance had to come and take me to the hospital. My temperature was one degree away from a coma. I was in ICU for a week and then in the overflow because I wasn’t ready to go home.”

That was when she noticed something was missing.

“My dentures — my top plate —disappeared while I was in ICU. The hospital couldn’t find them. They contacted maintenance and laundry. Everybody looked everywhere. They took the bed apart, too, but the teeth were nowhere to be found. People from the hospital were trying to help me find them but it just didn’t happen. They referred me to the lost and found. The lady up there, the volunteer, her name is Jane Balfour, couldn’t find them and then sent me off to the Duncan Lions Club with this business card.”

Out of hospital, Lindgren decided to try the service club.

“I couldn’t imagine why she was sending me there but I went there [to the Sassy Lion on Kenneth Street] and the Lions Club sent me to Helenius Postma. He’s a denturist in Mill Bay. They sent me there and authorized him to replace my whole top denture. When I got there he noticed I had an extremely deteriorated molar on the bottom. He then talked to the Lions Club and he got them to authorize Dr. Tang to extract the molar and give me all new bottom molars because I didn’t have any anymore.”

Lindgren can’t believe the result.

“I have more teeth in my face right now than I’ve had in 10 years. I can actually eat real food. I can smile again. I can talk to people without putting my hand in front of my mouth. I’m so happy. I have a job interview today. I haven’t had a job interview since forever because I couldn’t face people. This has really changed everything for me.”

She’s thanked the Lions Club but Lindgren wants their generosity to be more widely recognized.

“Somebody should be able to seriously pat those people on the back,” she said. “Jim Harnden and Mary Beth, the manager, who saw me after I came out from the hospital stay. They were wonderful.”

She said her previous dentures had cost a lot of money and she had been at her wit’s end trying to figure out what to do before the service club stepped in.

“I got the lower ones in only yesterday. I had to heal up after the extraction. I went in there and he put them in; they’re perfect. I’ve been smiling and yakking at people ever since. I’m going to go over there just now and show them but other people should know about this,” she said.