Samuel James Leckey, mother Rebecca (left), grandma Alison (right)

Samuel James Leckey has been named as the first winner of this year’s Nominate a Smile – a nationwide competition to find a very special person with a touching smile. 

Samuel, nicknamed Sammy, was nominated by his grandmother, Alison Doherty, a head tutor at Temp Dent in Finchley.

Alison talks fondly about how her grandson’s smile completely lights up a room. Alison says: ‘Sammy has complete kidney failure and will have to go through a transplant this year. My daughter, Rebecca, and son-in-law, Jonny, are an inspiration for perseverance and care for all his needs.

‘Not only do they have a nightly dialysis routine to follow with him with disinfection of tubes, weighing and measuring involved, but also, more recently, he has been confirmed to be profoundly deaf and needing a cochlear implant.

‘Despite his disabilities and slower development due to the kidney issues and medication, he is such a happy boy with a very dirty laugh! He lights up my spirits and all those around him with his happy, infectious smile!’

What makes Sammy’s smile even more precious is that he was only given a 5% chance of survival during his mother’s pregnancy.

Due to the medication Sammy is on, his teeth are also affected. They are being well cared for however, not only by his grandmother Alison who used to be a dental therapist, but also by his grandad who is a dentist, and mother who is a dental nurse.

Raising smiles

When the Oral Health Foundation visited Sammy, his mother and grandmother to surprise him with a cuddly soft panda, it soon became very apparent why his smile was nominated for this competition.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the oral health charity says: ‘Most of us are blessed with having a special person in our life who is close to our heart and always has the ability to put a smile on our face.

‘Despite the day-to-day barriers which he faces, Sammy is a boy who always raises a smile and we’re delighted to be able to give him and his family the recognition they deserve and we wish them the very best of luck for the future.’

The Oral Health Foundation will be selecting a winner every week throughout National Smile Month.

To enter the competition, send a picture of your nominee’s smile along with a brief description of why they deserve to be the next winner. It can be someone who has done something amazing in the community, gone above and beyond for another person, or simply brings a smile to everyone around them.

Send your entries to [email protected] or share a smile on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #NominateASmile.