The gift of a Father’s Day smile

Dr. Ryan Kilistoff shares a smile with Ath Ouch, who shows off the new dentures provided to him by the Vernon dentist at no charge. - photo submitted
Dr. Ryan Kilistoff shares a smile with Ath Ouch, who shows off the new dentures provided to him by the Vernon dentist at no charge.
— image credit: photo submitted

On Ouch knew how hard his father, Ath Ouch, has worked to raise a family of four children and he wanted to give him a special Fathers’ Day present.

“My dad was having a lot of pain with his teeth, it was even hard for him to chew his favourite food, rice,” said On. “When he grew up in Cambodia there was no kind of dental care, not even tooth brushes. My dad has always spent everything he earned on his family and sending money back to his father and other family in Cambodia so I knew he’d never spend money to get dentures for himself.”

He decided he would pay for the extractions and dentures himself and talked to his friend and dentist, Dr. Ryan Kilistoff, about the procedure. The appointment was arranged and On decided to make a video about his father’s early life in Cambodia where he worked 14 to 15 hours a day in the fields as a slave for the Khmer Rouge. Ath and his family escaped by walking hundreds of miles to a refugee camp in Thailand.

The family was able to emigrate to Canada with sponsorship of All Saints Anglican Church in 1989. Ath and his wife, Loeung, were both soon learning English and working hard, Ath at three jobs. Now 58, he works in On’s business, The Rice Box.

“My dad has always been such a hard worker, the first to come in and the last to leave. He has done so much for so many people,” said On.

He and his video camera followed Ath to his appointment with Kilistoff, who explained the procedure and had a big surprise for the father and son.

“I know that he’s been through a lot. This story touched me and if there was something I could do, I wanted to help,” he said, then turned to Ath. “On has told me about your history, that you’re a hard-working fellow, so we’re going to do this all for you for free.”

Ath was clearly shocked at the generous gift.

“Thank you very much,” was all he could say at the time.

Later, he said, “I still can’t believe that Dr. Kilistoff would do this for me. There are no words to express his kind gesture. I personally want to thank Dr. Kilistoff and his clinic and wish them success and prosperity.”

On said his father feels very fortunate that someone in his new community and country would help him this way.

“He is blessed,” said On. “He still can’t believe it and he thinks we are all blessed to be here. He will keep on working to help his family in Cambodia as much as he can, he takes them toothbrushes and toothpaste when he visits. Cambodia is still one of the poorest countries in the world and he wants to help them.”

At their Father’s Day get-together, the family enjoyed a steak dinner.

To see the video On made about his father’s life and his gift from Kilistoff and Courtview Dental, go to the Web site at


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