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500 miles to raise plenty of smiles
The proclaimers may have sang about it but Brighton dental hygienist and fellow Scot Christina Chatfield is about to make a 500-mile walk a reality.
Later this month the 50-year-old will begin making her way from Scotland to Brighton to raise aware- ness of mouth cancer and the importance of oral health.
The 500 Miles 4 Smiles walk will also raise money for the British Dental Health Foundation, Mouth Cancer Action Month and Heart Your Smile.
Ms Chatfield, who runs the Dental Health Spa in Queens Road, Brighton, has spent months building up her stamina in preparation for the challenge.
She will be setting off from Kirriemuir in Scotland on Monday and expects to reach the finish at the Big Beach Cafe on Hove seafront on June 19.
Ms Chatfield, who will be averaging about 20 miles a day, is asking for as many people as possi- ble to sign up and join her along the way and walk parts of the route.
She said: “I am encouraging other dentists, patients, businesses, others in the trade and any- one else interested to come and join me for sections of the walk.
“This is as much about raising awareness and understanding about the growing threat of mouth cancer and the importance of oral health.
“We recently heard about the increase of survival rates for cancer but unfortunately that is not the case with mouth cancer.”
The walk will be highlighting the benefits of a healthy mouth and issues including how the HPV virus has a link to oral cancer and how problems with the mouth and gums can be a potential sign of diabetes and heart disease.
Ms Chatfield and her supporters will also address the self-esteem of people suffering with dental anxiety.
She said: “I feel very passionately about improving oral health and widening the access of care for everyone.”
The walk has already attracted support from businesses in Brighton and Hove and further afield and many will be joining Ms Chatfield for the final stages of the challenge.
People can show their support by being a fundraiser or joining one of the walks. More details can be found at www.500Miles4Smiles.org.
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