A real pleasure to be invited along to yesterday’s meeting of Trustees, Management Team and friends, listen to progress reports from key players and hear CEO Mark Topley outline plans for the next decade.
It was around 10 years ago that Annie B first introduced me to Mark after she had met him whilst fund-raising by trekking on the Great Wall of China – we quickly formed a lasting friendship with Mark & Jo Topley and founders Ian and Andie Wilson.
In 2008 came the first of a number of opportunities we have had to visit Mwanza and meet the team at Hope Dental Centre.
Bridge2Aid has occupied a place in our hearts at home since then (many of you know that Annie B regularly assists on the B2A stand at dental trade shows) and the opportunity to engage 7connections as Corporate Friends to the charity has been a recent privilege.
For Annie and I one of our highlights was to be part of the 2011 Kilimanjaro fund-raising team and to summit along with over 20 UK volunteers who have become life-long friends.
As I travel around the dental landscape, I know that many hundreds of generous individuals, businesses and dental practices in UK dentistry have had their own lives enhanced by volunteering, sponsoring, fund-raising, taking part in challenges and offering their talents and time in support of this great cause.
B2A have created sustainable dental pain relief in Tanzania by training over 350 Clinical Officers and, as well as changing one life at a time, have contributed to the development of the healthcare infrastructure for hundreds of thousands.
At the same time, they have succeeded in maintaining a family atmosphere at every level – a real sense of belonging for all those involved. You will see evidence of that at the Bridge2Aid Bash on 23rd October, during the BDIA (Showcase) and I urge you to come along and join the fun if you are staying around the NEC that evening.
The choice to support any charity is a very personal decision and the dental community are enormously generous when it comes to aid of any sort.
Perhaps a message that we can all carry to our patients, friends and family in our social media posts, newsletters and 1:1 conversations.
Today (Wednesday) we begin our second day, brainstorming ideas on how to do even more.
In another context, I recently defined a true friend as someone who makes you feel better about yourself.
I’m excited about the next 10 years supporting our friends at Bridge2Aid.