2 moms who never put themselves first selected for 'Second Chanc - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

2 moms who never put themselves first selected for 'Second Chance' oral surgeries

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Mother's Day came early for two deserving Oahu moms.

Through a new program called Second Chance, Tina Ah Yen and Shawnalee Sullivan are getting a special kind of makeover -- to their smiles. 

The doctors behind Second Chance say more than 100 people applied for the program, which provides free oral surgery to deserving individuals.

However, the stories of these two women stood out among the applicants.

"We noticed that both of them put their family first and made sacrifices throughout their life," said Dr. Blake Kitamura, of Oral Surgery Hawaii. 

Ah Yen said her health went down hill about 10 years ago, then her teeth started falling out. The mother of six said she's so ashamed of her smile she rarely leaves the house and is afraid to be seen at school with her grandchildren. 

"It's an embarrassment and I don't want my grandkids to feel ashamed," Ah Yen said. 

Shawnalee Sullivan, 39, said her parents -- who were physically and mentally abusive -- never took her to the dentist.

"I would avoid cameras. I would avoid talking in public," Sullivan said. 

When she became a mother at a young age, she set everything aside to focus on providing for her family. 

She met with several doctors about getting oral surgery to fix her teeth, but she says the costs were too unbearable.     

"Instead of thinking of myself, I had to think of my kids, as well as how I'm going to put food on the table and provide a roof for them," Sullivan said. 

Through the Second Chance program, the two women will receive oral surgeries valued between $20,000 and $30,000 per patient for free. 

The oral surgeons providing the services hope it will give the women a new outlook on life, and a reason to smile. 

"You can tell when you look at them ... that smile is there. We just need to help them," Dr. Craig Yamamoto said.

The women are appreciative to receive the surgeries, which take place in a few months. 

"This is a second chance at something that I was wishing and hoping and praying for for so long," Sullivan said. 

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