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Rotarians raise funds for smiles

Describing it as one of the most heart-warming projects they have been involved in, members of the Almancil International Rotary Club (AIRC) are raising funds for dental treatment for the mentally ill.

For a number of years, AIRC has supported UNIR, an association assisting families caring for persons with mental illness. Centre director Dra Margarida Trindade heads a day care centre in Loulé where persons with mental disabilities are given occupational therapies.

When Dra Margarida asked for help towards a new UNIR centre in Portimão, AIRC member Dr Raymond Parfait organised a sports event at the Conrad Hotel which raised €4,000. Sadly, Dra Margarida was unable to raise the balance of the money needed to pay for the centre, so it couldn’t go ahead.

Peter Hinze, the Chair of the Community Services committee, consulted with Dra Margarida as to the best way to spend the €4,000. It was soon decided that it would be spent on dental treatment for nine individuals who said they would like to be able to smile without embarrassment or chew their food. Touched by these words, dentist Patsy Delgado, an AIRC member who practises at Atelier do Sorriso Medicina Dentária in Almancil, agreed to do the dental work at a reduced price and even contributed a substantial sum of her own money to ensure that the patients received all the treatment necessary to fulfil their wishes. In addition, club member Ursula Weber, along with oral surgeon Prof. Dr. Günter Dhom, a Rotary member from Ludwigshafen, Germany donated 50 toothbrushes, toothpaste and mugs to UNIR.

“This is one of the most heart-warming projects we have been involved in,” said Peter Hinze. “Life has dealt these people a hard blow and to see them smile is so rewarding. We can’t stop here. They will need regular check-ups so the club will be holding more fundraising events to cover the cost of further treatment.”

Photo: Dr Patsy Delgado with her assistants treating a UNIR patient