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May 10, 2013 | North America: Wisconsin

11 Months and 12 Teeth Extractions Later, Athlete Shines on the Court

By Christina M. Harris

Kenny Canon, 34, was smiling ear to ear when he found out his basketball team had no losses that season and had qualified for the Special Olympics Wisconsin State Indoor Sports Tournament in April. Judging from Kenny’s smile, it’s hard to believe that just 11 months ago, this all-star athlete couldn’t focus on the game because he was nearly paralyzed by tooth pain. “He had toothaches, was in a lot of pain and said he was dizzy,” said Kenny’s mother, Shirley. “He told me he thought he was going to die.” Fortunately, Special Olympics has teamed up with Mission of Mercy, a dental organization that provide free dental care to people who otherwise could not access those services. Doctors with Mission of Mercy were able to extract Kenny's decayed teeth last year, and now that he has healed well, they will give him implants later this year. “It just scares me thinking about what could have happened if he hadn’t found out about Healthy Athletes and Mission of Mercy,” Shirley said.

About Christina M. Harris: Director of Communications for SOWI.
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