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Helping the leprosy-affected in India

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SALT LAKE CITY — Dr. Scott McGavin started out looking for an adventure — something that might help his teenagers better appreciate what they have. But his humanitarian dental trips to India turned out to be much more than that. In the process he learned the true meaning of charity.

Working with the Rising Star Outreach charity, Dr. McGavin and two other dentists spent several days in India fixing the teeth of 150 leprosy-affected and their children. Many of these people have been shunned by society. In some cases, their noses have fallen off because the disease eats away at their cartilage.

For the volunteer dentists, the experience to help the leprosy-affected is both emotional and spiritual.

"My wife, she'll get a mask on, and you can just tell she's crying behind the mask. When she's washing their feet," said McGavin.

"You just feel like you're giving true charity. You're helping people who truly have no opportunity to help them self."

Dr. McGavin says their hope is to keep dentists going to India to do good work and to keep these kids healthy. Leprosy is contagious, but the Rising Star Outreach organization keeps good tabs on the children. If they see any white spots starting to form on the kids' hands, they immediately put them on antibiotics, and they're cured.

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Michelle King


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