Imagine looking in the mirror and not feeling pretty because of your smile.

How about suffering from agonizing tooth pain?

That’s exactly how Twin City native Christie Sherfey felt when she looked in the mirror.

“Your smile really makes you more confident and makes you want to be outgoing. I wasn’t feeling outgoing or confident due to the way my teeth looked as well as the pain,” Sherfey said.

An office assistant in the Bristol area, she was overcoming a divorce that left her with no dental insurance. Not only was she in need of dental care, she needed glasses to improve her vision.

She began looking for an answer.

“With only having health insurance to cover sick visits to the doctor’s office, I was lost. I probably would’ve had to take out a loan to pay the expenses,” Sherfey said.

That’s when Healing Hands, a Bristol non-profit organization, stepped in to lend a helping hand by providing dental and eye care.

“The staff at Healing Hands really takes pride in what they do and make sure you know everything that is going to be performed. They don’t make you feel like you’re a bother. What they did for me was truly a miracle,” she said.

Healing Hands is just one of nearly 30 non-profit agencies around the Tri-Cities region that receives support from the United Way of Bristol. The local chapter is currently in the middle of its annual fundraising campaign, the goal of which is to raise $1.4 million to support agencies like Healing Hands.

Although Healing Hands has a small staff, they’ve assisted more than 6,000 people across the area.

“Our organization was founded 15 years ago to serve the low income, working and uninsured residents in the community,” said Executive Director Helen Scott. “Our clients are extremely grateful for the services we provide. Most of them are working two jobs to make ends meet and we’re grateful we’re here to help.”

When asked what resulted from her ordeal, Sherfey’s answer was short and sweet.

“They are truly a special group of people,” Sherfey said of those at Healing Hands. “They restored something most people take for granted, their mouth. Now I can confidently say, I’m proud to show off my pearly whites.”

Reprinted with permission by:  Zach Irby, Bristol Herald (276) 645-2547

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