Dental care the key to life-saving transplant
"No one should ever have to make the decision to decline life-saving care due to their lack of access to affordable dental care.” ~ Jennifer Cook, DDS

After struggling with lupus and kidney disease for 18 years, Suprena Ross found herself in need of a kidney transplant. She had done everything possible to get on the kidney transplant donor list, including losing 80 pounds, but had one unchecked box in order to qualify. Her doctors told her that unless she had extensive dental work, there was no way she would get on the list for a life-saving kidney transplant.

According to physicians, there is a direct link between tooth decay and disease in the body. Our mouths are a major pathway to spreading infection and tooth issues left untreated can cause major health consequences – especially for someone like Suprena who needs a new kidney.  Her dental problems could actually cause her body to reject the kidney and she could lose her life.

Suprena was at her wits end because she simply could not afford the dental work needing to be done. She was already working two jobs to make ends meet for all her other medical and life expenses and paying for dental work was out of the question. After meeting and pleading with numerous area dentists, she really thought she was just out of luck.

“Suprena had lost hope,” says Catholic Charities Dental Care Director, Dr. Jennifer Cook. “She needed prohibitively expensive dental treatment to be cleared for the transplant list.”

But Suprena’s luck was about to change – and her faith was soon to be restored. A nephrologist with the Ascension St. John Transplant Program recommended she check with Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma’s Dental Care program to see if any help could be offered.  Suprena says she had never heard of Catholic Charities or the dental facility, but after reaching out to the clinic, she says, “The Divine took over because everything started to line up just perfectly.”

She received word that ALL the work she needed could be done at no charge.

“No one should ever have to make the decision to decline life-saving care due to their lack of access to affordable dental care,” Dr. Cook says. “We are grateful to have had the opportunity and resources to help Suprena overcome this obstacle.”

Suprena now smiles for many reasons. One, her teeth look bright and shiny, and her mouth feels healthy. Two, because now that her dental issues are behind her, she is eligible to get on the kidney transplant list – a list that just months ago wasn’t even an option.

“Catholic Charities Dental Care clinic is the real deal. Dr. Cook is amazing! I can’t even express what I feel about her. God sent her to me. With so much bad in the world, she is a bright shining star in my life. I am so grateful God sent her my way.”

“Suprena is a blessing to me, too,” says Dr. Cook. “She is so full of life and such an optimist every time she is here to have dental work. Suprena’s positive attitude and smile are inspirational. She is an absolute joy, and it has been our pleasure getting to know her.”

Catholic Charities is eagerly awaiting the news that Suprena has received her transplant and are praying for full recovery.

If you would like to support Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma, visit