Hello, my name is Joe D., and I am a fourth-year Biology major and General Business minor at The Ohio State University who will be applying for dental school this summer. I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio and was fortunate to be able to share my experience in the Revere Local School District with Ally. Her desire to get out and explore the world in a multitude of ways was truly contagious. After seeing the positive experiences that Ally and others around me had by going out of their comfort zones to immerse themselves in a new culture with different people, I knew I had to experience it for myself.

Last summer, I was fortunate to be able to travel to the country of Panama to provide health care to this less-privileged nation. To say that it was one of, if not the most influential and best decision of my life would be an understatement. I learned an enormous amount about how the other half of the world lives and just as much about myself and how grateful I should be for the life that I live. This summer, I will be traveling to Honduras to set up similar health clinics. I hope to have a similar humbling experience, but I also think it will be unique due to the different culture and people who I will have the pleasure of helping in any way possible.

The reason I want to do these mission trips and plan to go into the dental field is because I am truly passionate about helping those who genuinely need it. Whether it is a teeth cleaning, a compliment, a hug, a laugh, or simply something to smile about, I want to do whatever I can do to have a positive impact on those around me. Especially in areas around the world that do not have access to the things that many of us take for granted, I believe it is my duty to give back due to the many blessings I have in my own life. I will continue to take part in these trips for the rest of my life so that I can leave my fingerprint and positive perspective on as many individuals that is possible. Thank you to the Live Like Ally Foundation for allowing me to not only carry on Ally’s legacy, but to make one of my own.

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