AUSTIN (KXAN) — After getting his face bashed in during Gay Pride weekend in downtown Austin in September 2012, Andrew Oppleman has a new reason to smile.
Oppleman was getting a slice of pizza around midnight with his friend when he was attacked. He didn’t know who did it or why.
Nine teeth were knocked out or severely damaged, and he couldn’t afford the major reconstruction he needed.
That is where Dr. Gary Cash come in. He moved here in 2011 and says he caught the Austin spirit. Then he saw Andrew’s story on KXAN.
“It’s great to be able to help someone like that,” Cash said. “When I saw the story and met Andrew, I knew I had the ability to help.”
God love him,” Oppleman said. “I really needed the help at the time. I didn’t know where to go. There weren’t a lot of resources I could tap. Dr. Cash came along and gave me the strength internally and individually to find resources for myself.”
With The Victim’s Compensation Fund covering some of the cost and the Doc taking care of the rest, Cash says his work is now 80% complete. The damage to Andrew’s face was so severe, the dentist decided to create a whole new mouth for him.
“It was an 18 month process, and we’re still ongoing,” Cash said. “It’s not as simple a routine as an implant being replaced, because there was trauma from the assault.”
Andrew has moved to North Carolina since the attack, but he flies in on weekends for treatment and has three or four more visits to go. It has been a long, trying time, but worth the wait.
“Dr. Cash did a great job. They’re pretty much perfect,” Oppleman said. “I couldn’t ask for a more amazing outcome. I don’t know what to say. I’m still kind of speechless about it.”
“He decided to give me a complete smile makeover and it was life changing. It really was. He paid it forward in the spirit of Austin.”