LIFE & LIVING
Rachel Gilbert talks to another local inspirational woman.
Anna Charters has dedicated her life to helping and supporting others. She works full time as a dental hygienist and owns her own skin care business. Not even a pandemic could stop her supporting others — Anna is a team leading volunteer for the NHS track and trace program.
Anna’s inspiration, however, comes from her two young boys, one of whom has extra needs — he has autism and is non-verbal. He is on the list for a communication pad to enhance his communication levels. Anna said his autism isn’t what makes her son, it is just one part of him, and she wouldn’t change that.
“He is my biggest teacher in life,” Anna said. “He is such an honest, loving, happy boy, and is more compassionate and has more empathy than anyone I know.”
Anna works around the clock to provide for her family support network and give her son every opportunity in life. NHS resources are stretched, Anna said, so she works to fulfil his needs.
“I would rather work really hard to pay for him to have every opportunity,” Anna said. “He reminds me everyday to be kind to everyone. You just never know what is going on in someone’s life, and everyone deserves kindness.”
Despite Anna’s stacked schedule, she didn’t predict ending up on her current career path. She studied animal science at university with the goal of being an inspector for the RSPCA, balancing her studies with a job as a dental nurse.
Following university, Anna realised how competitive working with animals can be. With the support of colleagues, she decided to return to education to become a dental hygienist. Having shadowed a hygienist in a clinic previously, she felt inspired to forge a career in the field.
Anna found the course very challenging but had support from friends, family and colleagues. Dental hygiene is very competitive, Anna said, and she is grateful she was a little older than other applicants to the course.
“Choosing a career at 18 is a big decision, I would have struggled,” Anna said. “Being older helped me, I worked hard and was more dedicated.”
Dentistry is a very balanced field in terms of gender equality Anna said, she always finds herself included in treatment plans and discussions.
COVID-19 brought some changes to the practices from which Anna works. An even more rigorous than normal cleaning and disinfecting cycle is performed in between each patient. But Anna always welcomes a challenge — as if last year wasn’t tough enough, she launched her own business.
Skin Revival is the next step on Anna’s journey to help others. When she was younger, Anna suffered from acne and other skin problems. Clearing her skin up really helped her self confidence, she said.
“I wanted a new challenge and I had already studied the head and neck — it was the natural progression,” Anna said. “It can really help your self confidence, and with that, your mental health.”
Based out of dental practices in Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds, Anna is able to offer packages in conjunction with dental treatments. Bridal packages include cosmetic treatments and teeth whitening, providing the perfect look for the big day.
Family time is vital for Anna to unwind from her busy career and hectic volunteer schedule. She enjoys long walks, visits to theme parks and swimming. Anna’s biggest love is one she shares with her sons — horses.
Although she doesn’t currently have her own horse, she is able to ride a friend’s horse occasionally. She said her son lights up when he is around the animals. Spending time with her family helps her relax from her constant battle to get the support he needs.
“He is an incredible little boy,” Anna said. “Everyone could do with being a little more like him — the world would be a far kinder place.”