Take a walk for free dental

Kayla Trail

 The McDonough County Health Department will be conducting its first 5K event, Grin and Bear It, this Saturday at Spring Lake in Macomb. 

 Grin and Bear It is a 5K run/walk that students, families and faculty can all take part in to help raise awareness, as well as money, for those who cannot afford dental insurance and are in need of dental work. 

 Kerri Allen, community health director and a public health nurse of McDonough County Health Department, said that students who do not have dental insurance can be a part of the Dental Health Day and can receive extractions and fillings. A date has not yet been set for Dental Health Day.

 “In the spring of 2015, McDonough County Health Department performed a community needs assessment,” Allen said. “The results from the assessment determined the need for dental care for the medically undeserved in McDonough County since Eagle View Healthcare Systems closed its doors a few years ago.” 

 Eagle View Community Health System, previously located in Macomb, closed in the spring of 2013 due to lack of grant funding. Because the office that was located in Macomb helped those who lacked insurance or had low income, many people stopped getting dental care after the office was closed

 Allen hopes it will not only raise awareness for dental work, but also motivate families and students to get active. 

 The community needs assessment also concluded obesity as a prioriety concern in McDonough County. 

 “This 5K run will help us toward our goal of increasing dental care access as well as providing a healthy activity to fight against the obesity epidemic.” Allen said.

 According to Allen, the future Dental Day will be on a first come, first serve basis and any student who is uninsured with dental is able to take advantage of this opportunity. 

 All proceeds from the Grin and Bear It 5K run/walk will go toward funding the free Dental Day, so that those who need to get dental work done can do so at no cost. 

 “McDonough County Health Department plans to start working towards our future Dental Health Day specifics after the 5K has been completed,” Allen said. “No date or details have been set.”

 The race will be $25 for preregistration and $30 to register the day of the race. To sign up or to print off a registration form students can go to www.mchdgrinandbearit.weebly.com or go to the Health Department to pick up a form. 

 Awards will be given for first and second place winners in six age groups for both men and women.

 The Health Department’s hours are Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.