by Carolyn Canouse & Kathy Alvarez Davila
Back in 2015 Kathy Alvarez Davila was approved as one of Make a Miracle's very first scholarship recipients. She was going into her last semester of dental school, but had no way to pay the tuition. Her devoted brother, Luis, had been funding her education until then, but he had gotten to the point where he had borrowed all he could, and could no longer come up with another penny. Thankfully, we heard of her situation and were able to cover her tuition. Kathy finished her last semester strong, and we subsequently lent her the money for her title - a long and expensive process. Kathy paid back this loan quickly, however, by providing braces for other students, crowns, and multiple fillings. She proved herself to be a skilled dentist.
Since being licensed, Kathy has run several free dental clinics for our Star Kids Club. She and her colleagues come to the hills to clean teeth, teach the kids how to brush their teeth and give out toothbrushes, floss & toothpaste. These kids had never been to the dentist before, and these passionate dentists loved bringing dental care to the children for the very first time!
Kathy’s dream to run a clinic for families living in the hill communities of San Juan de Lurigancho is coming true Because of her hard work and dedication, she will be director of our dental clinic at the new Miracle Wellness Center. Kathy knows that in the beginning, her work will mostly revolve around extractions and fillings, but as her and the other volunteer dentists educate the community, visits will be less painful and more preventative.
This outreach won’t only affect oral health in the community, it will improve overall wellness. Research has shown that there is a synergic relationship between oral health and overall wellness. Gum disease is linked to a host of illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry combed through more than 1,000 medical histories and found that people with gum disease were twice as likely to die from a heart attack and three times more likely to have a stroke.
Make a Miracle is thrilled to bring dental education and care to our Wellness Center. We love that one of our first students will be involved in this amazing project. As the saying goes, ‘What goes around comes around.’ That has proven true not only for Kathy, but for her brother Luis as well. Luis’s grand financial sacrifice for his sister paid off, as he is now able to see her working in a successful career. Additionally, when Make a Miracle heard her brother was getting married, we asked for the honor of paying for their wedding rings. Rings are a reminder that faith and kindness are ever revolving around us, and in this circle of life, kindness and generosity are rewarded.
It was very difficult for me to obtain my university degree, but it was God who provided every opportunity along the way. This led me to think that if I succeeded, it was by His will, always with a greater purpose. I grew up in a small town called El Agustino. It is part of a population of low socioeconomic level, with difficult access to academic and health opportunities. Being a part of that population, I was still able to obtain my degree as a Dental Surgeon. It is now my dream to be able to partially return the favor of God and the generosity of the people who helped me on the way to achieve it.
My goal: to be able to contribute to the improvement of the health of those who need an accessible and dignified health service and do not have the economic means to achieve it. By providing health services such as treatments, instruction and prevention, we will contribute to general and oral health, and through it improve the quality of life and change the attitude of the low-income population. Make a Miracle has contributed to my training, creating in me a sense of social responsibility supporting me and helping me achieve my goals and dreams.
Education and health are important points for the development of a generation. The Miracle Wellness Center will have a clinical infrastructure that provides wellness services starting with basic, preventive treatments provided by professional volunteers, all with the sincere desire to contribute to the improvement of the health and wellness of our neighbors.
I am very grateful to Make a Miracle for all of its support. It allowed me to not only obtain my title, but also to feel like a part of the great family of Team Miracle. With this, not only do I get personal development, but they are a part of special events in my life. For example, with great generosity, they bought beautiful rings for my brother's wedding, and also showed great concern for our health and financial well-being during the pandemic.
It has been 4 years since I graduated, and Make a Miracle has not stopped including me in its programs, activities and even sometimes receiving financial support, as a real family would do. They are like parents who are concerned about their children, even after we grow up. With God's help, I have been able to get ahead and not only me, but my family with me. Thank you, Make a Miracle, for making my dream come true. I look forward to working with you at the Miracle Wellness Center.