Based on the dental screening and sealant program conducted at Gerald Adams and HOB schools last year, it was determined that roughly 12 percent of the children screened were in need of dental care, with many of them being urgent cases.
The Super Hero Ride was the result of brainstorming by Wesley House’s Jeremy Wilkerson and Claire Hiller and Marty and Sharon Hirsch of Key West Rotary Club. The two entities were looking for fun events that involve the whole family while helping children in need of dental care.
Typically, the cost to correct issues with student’s teeth runs from $600 to $1,200.
Superheroes in locals’ hearts, Tommy Ryan, Jill Cranney-Gage, Jordan Smith, Jon and Cathy Crane, Jessica Cranney, and Joe Tripp were slated to be the first fundraising superheroes of the ride. And then Hurricane Irma hit.
“After the storm, we had to revise the ride,” said Sharon Hirsch. “Everyone is a superhero after this storm, and we didn’t feel it was necessary to have our slated heroes asking others for money when so many lost so much.”
Retired New York 9/11 firefighter, Smart Ride Mile Marker, and slated superhero Tommy Ryan was one of those who lost his house in Big Pine Key; he is living in a trailer while trying to rebuild his life.
Those young and old are invited to dress up for the leisurely ride to raise awareness about the dental fund on Friday, Nov. 3 with check-in starting at 6 p.m. Next year, the superheroes knocked out by Irma will raise money and compete for the “super superhero” title. Any donations made will be used toward the fund.
“We wanted to tie in with the end of Halloween before everyone puts those great costumes away,” said Hirsch, “even though our police, firefighters and EMS workers dress that way every day.”
The sheriff’s department will be giving away bike helmets in a total community effort before the ride takes off from Bayview Park, and the Smart Ride Mile Markers will be the lead off riders for the start.
After the ride, stay for the movie “The Incredibles,” hosted by Key West Outdoor Movies.
For more information and to pre-register, visit wesleyhouse.org.
Tooth decay affects more than 25 percent of U.S. children 2 to 5 years old and 50 percent of U.S. children 12 to 15 years old, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition to the dental fund, Wesley House helps local families make sure enough presents are ready to be opened during holidays. A happy hour is set at Lucy’s Retired Surfer’s Bar on Friday, Nov. 10 from 4 to 6 p.m. for business owners to pick up a box to help collect toys for local kids.
Holiday Helpers helps families who are struggling, sometimes juggling multiple jobs on weekends and late nights to provide for their children. There will also be three slated bike rides in December to collect toys for kids in Key Largo, Marathon, and Key West.
The Holiday Helpers Stores will be located in Key West, Marathon and Key Largo in December. Eligible parents walk through the store, empowered by the ability to pick free, new toys their children will want instead of just allocating non-specific toys to parents. Families are chosen through referrals from teachers and others.
For more information, or to receive a box if you can’t make it to the happy hour, contact [email protected] or call 305-809-5000.