Arkansas dentist gives back to a teenager in need

Hometown Heroes

Photo: KARK

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (NewsNation Now) — 15-year-old Ashton Strawn has lived a life in and out of doctor’s offices. He was born with Diastrophic Dysplasia, it’s a rare form of dwarfism.   

“There’s only about 400 people in the whole world that have it,” his mother Shanda Strawn said,

“He is not walking near as much as he used to, the pain is getting so bad that even just sitting down or riding in a car is very uncomfortable.”

To help with the pain, Ashton is scheduled for surgery in Delaware. It’s a costly procedure the family needs help with, but after money was seemingly stolen from a fundraiser, all hope was lost, until the family dentist stepped in. 

Dr. Machen is a dentist in Little Rock, Arkansas and a reserve deputy with a local sheriff’s department. He started to reach out to friends, shared Ashton’s story and created his own fundraiser. Right now that fundraiser is at about $7,500. 

“Just meeting him and knowing him and knowing his parents, I said this is one cause I’m going to fight for,” Machen said.

“All these bills are gonna come in later, and I want to help you negotiate with these hospitals on trying to get these bills down, at least to where y’all can pay for them,” he said.

Machen is also helping to organize the trip to Delaware, hoping to make the trip as easy as possible, and he will also help keep track of the money so it goes where its needed.  

“I said as long as I’ve got good friends that are willing to give, I’m going to accept it, I’m going to keep it in a fund, I’m going to have you on a budget, I’ll get all the receipts, so when you come back I can tell all the people that are giving, ‘hey this is what they are spending it on and they will get updates on his progress.” 

“One day in the future, he walks up to me and says, he doesn’t even have to say thank you, he just has to say, ‘you know what I’m not hurting as bad as I was a year ago’.” 

“The sense of relief that I had and the tears that I cried, they’re just not even describable,” Shanda said.

The Strawn family leaves for Delaware Saturday. Monday and Tuesday Ashton has pre-surgery appointments and his actual surgery is Wednesday.

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