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Our Partnership with The Sunshine Foundation Makes Us Smile

Every year, 150 million people go to Disney World. However, planning a trip isn’t so easy for families with special needs children. Though the desire to see their favorite characters and enjoy a nice vacation is just as real, crushing medical debt can make that dream impossible. For the second year in a row, Innovative Oral Surgery has partnered with The Sunshine Foundation to raise enough money to send a child with chronic illness or a physical disability to Orlando.

Another Dream Becomes Reality

Four-year-old Rakim Phillips has lived a hard life since birth with Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus, conditions that not only impair his movement, but also cause painful symptoms such as headaches, seizures, and other physical issues.

The Disney World trip will be a bright spot on what has been a hard life for Rakim, said his mother to the Bucks County Courier Times. “Rakim will have a ball at Disney World. He loves Mickey Mouse, Goofy, the water, and being as active as possible. I’m so grateful to the people who made this happen,” she added. He also loves music, swimming, and watching light shows and will undoubtedly, make the most of everything Disney has to offer.

Our Lower Southampton dental practice partnered with the Sunshine Foundation and the Neshaminy High School Interact Club to raise $5,000 that will make this two-week vacation in April possible for the Philadelphia boy and his family. The school organized two successful events – a movie night and “Neshaminy’s Got Talent,” while our dental practice matched the donations. The gift was presented to the family over hotdogs and hamburgers at a special Reveal Picnic at the Middletown high school.

Dr. Michael Salin, an oral surgeon and specialist in dental implant therapy, maxillofacial trauma, cleft lip and palate surgery at Innovative Implant and Oral Surgery, explained: “This gave us an opportunity to give back in two ways — supporting Rakim and helping make this trip possible for him and his family, and also supporting our local high school.”

About The Sunshine Foundation

Founded by a former Philadelphia police officer stationed on protective duty at St. Christopher’s Hospital in 1976, the Sunshine Foundation has made over 40,000 dreams come true. The foundation’s sole purpose is to grant wishes for children ages 3 to 18 who are chronically or gravely ill, abused, or physically handicapped, and whose families cannot fulfill the requests due to the financial burden of healthcare.

“Not all children are able to run and play and enjoy life. Many are innocent victims of birth defects, accidents and deadly diseases,” says Founder Bill Sample. He begs the simple, but selfless, question: “Shouldn’t each child know that somebody cares enough to see his or her dream come true?”

The first dream took four-year-old “Bobby” on a trip to the Poconos, where he could play in the snow, just four months before he lost his battle with Leukemia. The Sunshine Foundation receives requests for everything from home modifications to iPads, but by far the most popular request is a trip to Disney World. More than 5,000 day trips to Orlando theme parks – for children so ill they cannot be away from their medical care providers for more than a day — have been granted through the foundation.

Sunshine Foundation president Kate Sample explains that the group has limited income, so they rely heavily on partnerships with community groups and organizations who come together with compassion to make these dreams come true. To see the smile on a child’s face whose dream is about to come true is a priceless gift for all who participate.

About Innovative Oral Surgery

For more than 40 years, our Feasterville, PA practice has performed personalized, patient-centered implant and oral surgery. Our specialties include bone grafting, All-on-Four® dental implants, impacted wisdom teeth removal, traumatic reconstruction, cleft palate surgery, and pediatrics. Giving back to the community is something we feel very strongly about, whether it’s through our practice or a partnership with a terrific group like The Sunshine Foundation. We hope to continue working with The Sunshine Foundation to help grant many more wishes in the future! Contact us to schedule an appointment or learn more about the work that we do.