Rosie May Day – creating positivity and inspiration in dentistry

We speak to Catherine McCanny about the Rosie May Day, the horrendous story that inspired the Rosie May Foundation and what the day will involve.

Can you please introduce yourself and give us your background?

I’m Catherine McCanny and I am the director of Saint Michael Orthodontics in Wakefield. Myself and my husband built a purpose-built practice completed in 1998. 

Can you tell me what the Rosie May Foundation is?

Several years ago I was asked to talk at the Inspiring Women in Dentistry event. It was there that I met Mary Story and her husband Graham. 

They then set up the Rosie May Foundation in memory of their beautiful little girl, Rosie May. 

At 10 years of age, she was brutally murdered while they were at a party just after Christmas. 

The family turned this tragedy around by creating and setting up this foundation. 

The year after they lost Rosie May, they took the family off to south east Asia for a holiday and to spend Christmas there. 

On Christmas Day they went and planted a palm tree in memory of Rosie May. 

That was the year on Boxing Day when the tsunami hit. They were out there and thankfully were saved. They then went back to look and the little tree had survived. 

It was a sign for them that Rosie Mae was there and she had protected them. They felt that this would be a wonderful tribute to actually help the people affected by the tsunami. 

One of the first projects they then did was set up the Rosie Mae Home. This was a home set up for children who had lost parents in the tsunami. 

Now they really focus on buying little pink tuctucs and training female drivers to take women and children safely to and from work and school. 

There’s a lot of trafficking that goes on in Sri Lanka. 

Oh wow, that’s quite a story. Can you tell me a bit more about what the Rosie May Day is and what brought that about?

Obviously, I met Mary and this story really touched my heart. 

Just as you do, one night I finished work at 7:00 o’clock, driving home, I thought I really want to do something more for this charity.  

My talk at the Inspiring Women event was really about how I had to change it in 2006, when the new NHS contract came in. 

At that time I was predominately in an NHS practice, but I knew in order to survive I had to start growing the private side of the business. 

I was a bit lost and wasn’t comfortable talking money, it was just really out of my comfort zone. 

It was with the help of business coaches such as Ashley Latter and throughout my further career with Chris Barrow, I’ve used business coaches to help support and develop my business and career. 

I just had this idea that it would be lovely if I could somehow get the two of them together and  draw an audience to come in and raise money for this wonderful charity. 

So that’s how the idea came about. 

So you took your dental background and brought together people in the dental profession to create this Rosie Mae Day, which is why it focuses predominantly on dentistry, is that right?

Yes, so where the day is going to start – we’re going to have a little bit on mental health and wellbeing. And then I’m going to give my short story. 

And then we’ve got Ashley, who will really focus on patient communication and Chris is going to talk a bit about the business of dentistry. 

Later on we have a wonderful inspirational lady and Vasiliki Stamatoukou. I’m so excited to hear her story. She came over from Greece in really, really troubled times. She took her family came over here hardly spoke a word of English. And then she’s developed a business. 

I’m hoping it’ll instil a lot of positivity and inspiration. 

What can people who come to the day hope to take away?

I think there’s something in it for everybody, whatever stage you are in your career. Whether dentist, orthodontist, and also for team members, practice managers. 

There will be something in it for everybody, whether the start of your career, the middle of your career or coming towards the end 

There are some little tips too to take back.  

For all of us the last two years has been just such a challenge. I think it’ll just be so lovely to have a face to face meeting, a bit of networking and really just for everybody to have a get together. Have a bit of fun. 

And then obviously raise money for charity, which is the prime name of it. 

The delegates that come to the day, they pay for a ticket, where does that money go?

So that money will go to the foundation and help buy more at these tuctucs and train female drivers. This way female drivers can earn an income and then help support their families. 

It’s all going directly to the foundation.  

How can anybody reading find out a bit more information like where to buy tickets?

We have a website called www.therosiemayday.com. 

There’s also a link on my personal social media or practice social media.  

It’ll be advertised over lots of social media channels and you can click directly on the link. 

Then you can buy the ticket from that. 

Is there anything else that you just wanted to highlight?

All I would really like to say to people is I really am so looking forward to this day. 

Obviously I’m nervous because I’ve never done anything like this before. But I really think it would be worth just taking a day out of your practice. Come and celebrate. 

The last few years where we’ve all been very much on our own and trying to struggle through the challenges that Covid has brought. 

This is a day that I think will hopefully inspire people and give them a little bit of a lift. 


For more information and to book your tickets, visit www.therosiemayday.com.

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