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 Autumn Leaves

By CHELSI MOY of the Missoulian | Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 11:00 pm

For most people, raking leaves is just another household chore. Heather Stone, on the other hand, genuinely enjoys the work.

Lately, she’s been enjoying it a lot, in fact, raking upward of three lawns each week, sometimes well past dark, in exchange for a couple of bucks or a hot meal.

But despite her cheery demeanor, Stone probably has more reasons to hate raking leaves than anyone.

Stone, 33, is blind and autistic, and in recent weeks has used leaf raking as a way to earn enough money to go somewhere she absolutely despises: the dentist.

Stone hasn’t seen a dentist in more than a decade. Twelve years ago, the last time she sat in a dentist’s chair, a team of medical professionals physically restrained Stone in order to perform the necessary care, disregarding her cries for help when the numbing agent wasn’t strong enough. Stone felt everything, and afterward, vowed never to return.

Since then, Stone has gone to great lengths to care for her teeth, brushing three times daily for exactly two minutes and swishing with anti-plaque and anti-cavity mouthwash for exactly a minute and 30 seconds each day. (She counts the length of time in her head.)

Still, today, Stone has nine cavities and five teeth that need pulling. The dental visit will require hospitalization – a visit that will cost $12,000.

This Saturday, Nov. 7, is the club’s fundraising day, where members of the UM women’s rugby team are teaming up with the Neuro Networking Club to rake leaves.

They are also asking local businesses to donate items to create gift baskets, which will be placed in stores around Missoula beginning next week. The baskets will be auctioned off in a silent auction to the highest bidder.

Anyone interested in having their lawn raked in exchange for a donation should contact Bittinger at treva.bittinger@grizmail.umt.edu, or by phone at 543-0003.

Anyone interested in sending a donation should make checks payable to the Neuro Networking Club and mailed to Phoebe Hunter, ASUM Office Manager, University Center 105, 32 Campus Drive, UM, Missoula, MT 59812. All donations will go to Stone’s dental bill.

Read in Full:  http://www.missoulian.com/news/local/article_0d0d3038-c9ce-11de-b586-001cc4c03286.html



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