Oak Bay News
A local dental office has turned unwanted gold from old crowns and other dental prostheses into a valuable resource for local charities.
Over the last 10 years, the husband-and-wife team of Dr. Dawn Webster and Dr. Matt Evans, owners of Avenue Family Dental on Oak Bay Avenue, saved bits and pieces of gold dental prostheses donated by patients, and every few years have that gold melted.
Previous community donations have added up to more than $25,000 contributed to Janeece’s Place, Mustard Seed, Victoria Cancer Lodge and the Hopkins Fund at BC Children’s Hospital.
This year, thanks to patients’ generosity and higher gold prices, the gold amounts to close to $20,000, Webster notes.
“Everything stays local and we try to choose something where close to 100 per cent goes to what we’re donating to.”
With each donation, the Avenue Dental team selects local charities with a connection to a family member or friend.
“Over the years, it was just very personal to us,” she says. “This year we had a staff member lose a child to mental disease, who had suffered with schizophrenia all his life and was on and off the streets,” Webster says. “It was and still is a devastating loss, and we had hoped to pick a charity (where our donation) would go to helping someone just like him, to get them off the streets and keep them safe.”
With that goal in mind, Webster and Evans opted to send this year’s donation to Al Tysick’s Dandelion Society, “a grass roots, ground zero team that is out there every day trying to do just that,” Webster says.
“We’re trying to make it as meaningful as possible for her.”
While the money raised is important, so too is the opportunity to raise awareness.
“We hope that our choice to donate, along with our patients’, in this unique way will inspire others to do the same, in whatever way they can, as well as bring awareness to how very difficult it is to treat mental disease, and how heart breaking it can be for their families.”
Patients have been vastly supportive of their efforts, Webster says.
They’re giving part of themselves, really,” she says, adding, “I’ve had patients from other dental offices come in and give me their gold.
“(Patients) will often ask, ‘Where is it going this year and where did it go last year?’ So many people like to donate, it’s nice for them to have a little recognition.