Kaci Solan, lab tech at the Aspen Dental practice in Quakertown, PA, didn’t let a few cancelled and delayed flights prevent her and a team of Aspen Dental volunteers from helping Peruvians get the care they needed.
Kaci was one of 12 volunteers providing desperately needed dental care to citizens in the remote village of Quiquijana, Peru in June of 2017. While her colleagues got there with relatively few issues, it was another story for Kaci.
With a lot of resourcefulness and passion to help others, Kaci showed what bleeding Aspen Blue really means. Cancelled and delayed flights meant that Kaci’s baggage – containing important dental equipment – probably wouldn’t arrive in time for the first day of clinic. So she sent them ahead without her to ensure the equipment got to the clinic on time in case she didn’t.
Kaci arrived to the Peruvian clinic in Quiquijana a day after the rest of the team, but her bags were stuck in Customs in Lima, Peru. The team was able to treat patients on the first day of clinic, but with only half of the equipment needed, jeopardizing the ability to make dentures that so many patients needed. Without luggage that was nearly 700 miles away, Kaci refused to stand back. She jumped on an evening flight back to Lima and, after hours of discussions, was able to collect her bags. But she had to spend the night in the airport.
Thankfully, Kaci’s perseverance paid off. She flew back early the next morning and was able to rejoin the team for the second day of clinic. The disappointing start never dampened Kaci’s spirit or can-do attitude and the team was able to treat more than 500 patients that week.
“This trip definitely reminded me of all the luxuries I'm surrounded by on a daily basis, both at home and in my lab,” Kaci said. “There are plenty of people in our own towns and communities who need help and Aspen team members are able to help them out through the Mouth Mobile, Day of Service, and in many other ways. Locally or globally, we're all neighbors and we all need a hand sometimes. Community outreach initiatives is just one example of how Aspen Dental is breaking down the barriers to better care, better smiles and better lives. And I’m proud to be a part of that.”