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HopeFest Helps Thousands At Chase Field

(Photo by Annika Cline - KJZZ)
Dentists volunteer at HopeFest to care for patients who are uninsured or underinsured.

On Saturday, more than 20,000 people will be at Chase Field - not for a baseball game, but for healthcare and other services. An annual event called HopeFest aims to serve the needs of uninsured or under-insured people by giving medical care and referring them to long-term services. 

The Legends Suites in Chase Field offer one of the best bird’s-eye views of the diamond. But Friday morning, most of the people there were looking into other people's mouths.

The suites were full of dentists, peeking into the mouths of patients. While volunteers set up for HopeFest in other areas, the dentists were already getting down to the enamel.

They improvised with what they had out of travel dental kits, treating patients who may not have been to a dentist in a very long time, while a line of more patients already filled the waiting area. It’ll be like this, non-stop through HopeFest.

“Yeah, the need is huge here,” said Marci Gill, a hygienist from an office in the West Valley and a return volunteer.

“We have a lot of emergency cases here, so sometimes it’s pick and choose. What is the most dire need of the patient at the time? So we kind of try to help them with whatever is most important and may give them trouble soon,” Gill said.

They still probably won’t see everyone who needs this service. That's why HopeFest tries to connect people to care long term, too. Co-founder Billy Thrall spoke about the event.

News The Show
Annika Cline was a producer for KJZZ's The Show from 2014 to 2019.