A dentist in Sunset Hills, Missouri, is giving of her time to give back to the Down syndrome community by giving them free dental services on Thursdays.
Dr. Julie Hotz-Sudekum said she got her inspiration to perform these charitable acts from her 12-year-old son who has Down syndrome.
“My oldest son Pete was born with Down syndrome 12 years ago,” Dr. Hotz-Sudekum told KSDK.
She said many people have helped her son Pete throughout the years and he would not be where he is today without the help of those people.
So she wanted to find a way to pay it forward to the community who helped her son. A few years ago, Dr. Hotz-Sudekum decided to start “Give Back Thursdays,” a way to offer free dental care to people with Down syndrome on the first Thursday of every month.
“It’s been a privilege to help out this community because you know Pete has brought so much joy to our family and I think a lot people with Down syndrome are misunderstood,” she said.
From the moment these special patients walk into Dr. Hotz-Sudekum’s office, they are welcomed, understood, and made comfortable.
“A lot of them get very nervous about things in their mouths, about the vibration, laying back in the chair, the whole experience. You kind of learn to desensitize these guys,” she said.
Christa Roth, one of Dr. Hotz-Sudekum’s first “Give Back Thursdays” patients, had gone through three different dentists before finding one she was comfortable with.
“There’s no money ever talked about. No fees, it’s just amazing. I’m just really, really happy about it,” Eileen, Christa’s mother, said.
The dentist said “Give Back Thursdays” are some of the best days of the month for her practice, adding that she would love to help out others if she is able.
“If every dentist, physician, just person could figure out a way just to give back in their own little way, there wouldn’t be that much of a need any more in our community,” said Dr. Hotz-Sudekum.