Evan Hill was a 12-year-old boy living in the picturesque city of Christchurch, New Zealand. Unfortunately, however, this youngster didn’t have the easiest time at school. He was targeted by bullies for something that he couldn’t even control.
Poor Evan had buck teeth, and unfortunately, his case was so severe that it even affected the way he spoke. In fact, the young boy wasn’t able to actually close his mouth fully because of his protruding teeth. Compounding matters, the cruel bullies called him names.
And there was no easy fix for Evan’s condition. Orthodontic work was never a feasible option. The boy’s family were not able to afford the pricey treatments, and Evan didn’t meet the criteria to receive the treatment for free.
In fact, ever since the major Christchurch earthquake in 2011, Evan’s family have been struggling to get by. Evan’s father cares for his kids on a single pay packet, and the household don’t even have a car.
Furthermore, amid all the financial troubles, Evan was also struggling with his self-image. For example, he told New Zealand’s Campbell Live that his teeth “make [him] look funny and silly.”
Evan’s jaw actually jutted out at a 12-degree angle, whereas most people’s jaws sit at only a two-degree angle. Not only that, but between his top and bottom teeth there was a significant 0.8-inch space.
The bullies at school called Evan “a bunny rabbit,” which of course he resented. Poor Evan was, then, clearly having a tough time. And for that reason, his neighbor, a man called Phil Cooper, stepped up to the plate.
The kindly man wanted to lend Evan a hand, and he had a genius idea. Phil contacted TV3’s current affairs show Campbell Live to see if they could help his young neighbor – and what happened as a result was truly amazing.
Campbell Live’s producers invited Evan to share his story on the show, where the young lad bravely allowed them to discuss his insecurities regarding his teeth. However, it was revealed that in order to rectify the protruding teeth, it would require an estimated $8,300.
Once the show had aired on television, the reception was unbelievable, though. Members of the public rushed to get in touch, eager to help young Evan, and this in turn prompted a response from the Campbell Live team.
The producers behind the show decided to launch a donations account to cater for the overwhelming reaction from the public. Then, people were encouraged to give money to help pay for Evan’s dental treatment.
The whole country gave generously, and in a follow-up show, the total amount donated by the public was revealed. Incredibly, the closing sum of the donations reached over $69,200. Finally, Evan was going to get his teeth fixed.
In the ensuing few months, then, Evan had regular appointments with a professional, who worked on transforming his teeth. But the orthodontist, Rob Sluiter, confirmed that Evan’s condition was very severe. In fact, he told the New Zealand Herald that it was among the worst cases he had come across in 25 years.
And yet these days young Evan looks completely different. Sluiter has managed to move the youngster’s teeth by an impressive 0.6 inches. So now, he smiles even wider than ever.
“We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?” the orthodontist said to Evan in a Newshub NZ feature. “It’s about time,” he added. After all this, then, Evan will be able to enter into his teenage years with fresh confidence.
His mom, Barbara Erickson, was delighted with the donations that the family received from the people of New Zealand. “I don’t know where we would have been today without the generosity we had,” she told Newshub NZ.
Erickson explained how she had even considered mortgaging her home in order to pay for her son’s expensive orthodontic treatment. But thanks to the kind public, she no longer needed to think about it.
Yes, the very kind people of New Zealand stepped in to save the day. And when asked what he thought of his new look, Evan was so distracted by his reflection in the mirror that he only had one word to say: “good.”
Overall, then, it sounds like the treatment was a huge success. But this story doesn’t end there. The money raised for the treatment is destined to go even further than just Evan. It will be donated to a trust which supports other families with children who need dental treatment but just don’t have the cash.
With his teeth transformed, Evan can now look forward to a future without people taunting him. It’s something that most people take for granted – but thankfully Evan’s story tapped into the kindness of New Zealanders. And they have hopefully made sure that he will no longer be the subject of ridicule again.