Between the neon T-shirts and sparkly shoes she wears, most people would take one look at Hannah Farris and say “that’s a happy 14-year-old” — and for the most part, she is. One place you don’t always see that, though, is on her face.
“No, I don’t like smiling,” said Farris.
When Hannah was six, she was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called ectodermal dysplasia, which prevents her from growing permanent teeth. That means once her baby teeth fall out, her smile is gone for good.
“When I take photos, that’s all I focus on,” said Farris. “I feel like my face is deformed. And I’ve been made fun of. I went home and I cried.”
There is a procedure that can help her — but it costs $50,000. Her mom’s insurance won’t cover it.
For that procedure to be successful, she has to get it before her baby teeth fall out.
“I saw what an insurmountable task she had in front of her ... and it touched my heart,” said Clint Stephens, a friend of the Farris family and owner of a printing-graphics business in Arlington.
Stephens is a member of small business group in Arlington called Arlington Business Connections. When he told them about Farris’ situation, they decided to take action.
“A smile gives us confidence,” said Eric Uzelac, another member of Arlington Business Connections. “A smile has put me in some really nice places. And I think everybody should have that.”
At the beginning of this year, they launched a campaign to raise the money, complete with a website, T-shirts, and events.
“I was shocked,” said Farris. “I didn’t know how to react.”
Between donations and a fundraiser they held Saturday at Rock It Cross Fit, they’ve raised close to $5,000. They hope the community will step up and help them raise the rest of it.
“I think it will just take hope and faith to raise the money,” said Farris.
A very grateful Farris is optimistic they’ll succeed — and she said she looks forward to the day she can’t stop smiling.
To learn more about how you can help Farris, visit www.helphannahsmile.com.