FILLING A NEED: Dr Tim Topalov and Rita Sok will be travelling abroad with the help of River Dental's fundraiser.
FILLING A NEED: Dr Tim Topalov and Rita Sok will be travelling abroad with the help of River Dental's fundraiser. Scott Kovacevic

River Dental raffle to help dentists make a difference

HIS first trip to Cambodia drilled the reality of overseas dental health into Dr Tim Topalov very quickly.

A reality, he said, which has been impossible to forget.

"It's very hard not to go back.

"They rely solely on dentists who come from outside the country to spend time there.”

Now a frequent visitor to Cambodia and, more recently, Kathmandu, Dr Topalov and his River Dental practice are fundraising in an effort to help others join him.

Dr Topalov said inspiration came in Cambodia when he was working with a group from the Hunter Valley and asked how so many could afford to make the trip.

"They said 'we run a raffle and we let the patients know we want to come over and that helps fund the travel for the girls'.”

So far, more than $3500 has been raised since the raffle started in November, and everyone who heard about it was getting on board.

"The support's been great when people see the work I do over there.

"Everyone in the practice wants to come over.”

Hoping to fund two trips with the raffle Dr Topalov said there was no final goal in mind, but stressed it was all about funding others who want to make the journey.

"I'm happy to pay my own way,” he said.

"It's for staff who want to come and donate their time.”

While this will be his fourth trip to Cambodia it is only his second to Kathmandu, a privilege he had to show George Manos, the founder of the Project Yeti Dental Clinic, he was worthy of.

Now, with Mr Manos' approval, Dr Topalov is eager to continue offering a helping hand in Nepal to as many people as possible.

"You basically get in, see as many patients as you can, get as much work in as you can and then get out.”

He said the chance to see a new perspective on the world was eye opening.

"It's fairly cliche but you're also seeing that culture at the grass root level, as it is, as the people live; not glossed over by taking bus tours and looking and saying 'oh isn't it sad'.”

"When you're helping them, it's amazing how much they're helping you.”

Prizes to be won in the raffle include two nights accommodation at Mantra Sun City for a family of four, a crown donated by Advanced Denture Clinic valued at $1550, two member tickets to a Brisbane Broncos game of the winner's choice and a $100 voucher for the Phoenix Hotel. Tickets are $2 each, or three for $5.

Donations and contributions can be made through the gofundmepage, Riverdental team servicing others, and more information is available on the River Dental Facebook page.

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