When reality shows a young child with a cavity in every tooth, Dr. Steven Deisz steps in to save the day.
It’s a scenario that played out in mid-July, when Deisz first stepped onto the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile in Belcourt, ND.
Deisz, a dentist, is spending part of the summer traveling around western North Dakota on the Care Mobile, with the mission of providing dental care to young ones who haven’t been fortunate enough to receive needed dental check-ups in their lives.
Sporting unmistakable blue scrubs and colorful sneakers, Deisz is easily recognized by the kids he assists as Dr. Steve.
He has a calming nature with kids ages 3-5. Many visit the Care Mobile to see a dentist for the first time, and usually find a reason to smile by the end of the appointment.
“You hear about underserved populations, as far as dental and medical care, but until you actually get out and see it, it doesn’t set in,” he says. “Some of these kids, if they don’t get back on the Care Mobile, they might not see another dentist for a long time, as sad as that is.”
For Deisz, the dream to hop on the Care Mobile emerged during dental school. Basin Electric’s Vice President and Controller Shawn Deisz, also Steven’s mom, noticed his interest in serving others right away. Needless to say, she’s very proud of her son.
“He’s very excited about it. He loves children,” she says. “You’re always proud of your own child, but it’s really nice to hear when others tell you what a great job your kids have done as well.”
Shawn Deisz and her son have both been involved with the Care Mobile. She was part of the local Ronald McDonald House board of directors 10 years ago when the idea to develop a Care Mobile program first came up. She now chairs the Care Mobile Advisor Committee.
“The Care Mobile program is not only trying to assist children who have dental issues, but also to teach them how important it is to brush their teeth,” she says. “Some children we’ve seen have never had a toothbrush before.”
It takes an annual budget of more than $600,000 dollars to support the vehicle, which runs with a traveling dentist, hygienists, drivers and administrative staff. As he’s traveled, it’s been tough for Deisz to realize it’s impossible to fit everyone into the Care Mobile’s schedule, which is booked through parts of 2016.
There’s no mistaking Deisz aims to help as many kids as he can, one smile at a time.
“We try our best to get to places with the greatest need,” he says. “It’s pretty neat to get out there and actually make a difference.”
To learn more about the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, read Co-ops help deliver hope on wheels and Tooth Taxi to deliver smiles. Also, search “Care Mobile” on this blog to see several videos on the project.