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Smiles for Miles 5K raises money for denture fund

Feb 7, 2022
5 min Read
Kate Malott
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Creighton dental students attend the Smiles for 5K

A growing tradition within the School of Dentistry will return this year and organizers hope it’s the largest event yet. 

Each fall, Creighton’s American Student Dental Association Chapter hosts a run/walk event called Smiles for Miles 5K to raise money for students’ patients.  

Money goes to the school’s denture fund, assisting vulnerable patients who can’t cover the costs of the partial or complete dentures they need. There are other costs in the process that can be financially burdensome, too, including teeth extraction procedures and temporary dentures.  

“Countless individuals in the Omaha area seek treatment from the school and are in desperate need of dentures. Unfortunately, many patients are unable to afford the cost. With the Smile Miles Denture Fund, third- and fourth-year dental students can offset some of these costs to deliver high-quality dentures to those in need,” said Lyndsey Holan, a third-year dental student from Phillips, Wisconsin, and ASDA Chapter president. 

The fund has grown to more than $5,000, she said. 

Students who have a patient in need of financial assistance may fill out a fund application. Recipients are selected based on a patient’s treatment, financial need and participation.

More than 120 people participated in Smiles for Miles last year. The run starts and ends at the dental school. Attendees receive a T-shirt, and light food and drink.

Although the event has grown, it’s still small, said Holan. Most of those involved are students and faculty. Organizers want to grow the event and include more participation from the community. 

This year, the dental school is partnering with University Relations to connect with its network of alumni, parents and partners. 

“We are very excited to work in partnership with the ASDA leadership to grow Smiles for Miles into an event that welcomes all dental alumni and their families to participate during that all alumni weekend,” said Sara Cory, director of alumni relations for the School of Dentistry. 

The Smiles for Miles 5K will take place Saturday, Sept. 30, during the 2022 reunion weekend, Creighton Days, Sept. 29 to Oct. 2. The route will go through campus again. Organizers hope it becomes a signature event. Alumni can sign up to participate in the run/walk while registering for alumni weekend. Watch for more details at alumni.creighton.edu/cd22.  

“The event is important because it reconnects alumni and students to the foundation and heart of a Creighton dental education — its clinics and patients,” Cory said.