MEBANE, NC -What do you get when you mix a Christmas parade and a dentist? Why, the ‘Molar Express’, of course.
Dr. Eric Steinbicker, a Mebane based dentist, created the float, based off of the popular children’s book and movie, The Polar Express.
"It started off as a hobby and became something bigger,” said Steinbicker.
Dentist Battling Cancer Creates 'Molar Express'
For three years, Steinbicker entered his dentist-themed floats into the Mebane Christmas Parade on behalf of his practice, Steinbicker Family Dentistry. First, it was the ‘Tooth Fairy’ float, then ‘Griswold’s Christmas’ and now, the ‘Molar Express.’
“It’s magical and spiritual,” the dentist explained. “It took about 300 hours; about four months or so.”
Steinbicker bought an old bus off of Craigslist for $1,000. The total toothy transformation cost $2,200. Steinbicker worked on every single part of the float, except for the final paint job. His brother-in-law will dress as the ‘conductor’ and other family, friends and co-workers will wear pajamas when the ‘Molar Express’ roles through Mebane.
But the project almost didn't happen at all.
"In June of this year, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma,” said Steinbicker. "I almost didn’t do it. But, I went ahead and just started tinkering around with it. As I keep pursuing it and kept building it, I kind of looked at it as a bigger picture and what joy it would bring to kids."
He said the ‘Molar Express’, got him through rounds of chemo every two weeks, for three days at a time. So, for him, this is more than a float. It's a reminder of what the Polar Express is all about; that “seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world, are the things we can't see.”
"My faith in God has grown and whether or not people see that in the parade is hard to convey I guess, but I think that's the true meaning of Christmas. Having faith in God and each other,” said Steinbicker.
Since November, Steinbicker has only worked part-time at his practice. If Steinbicker’s recent round of chemotherapy sends him into remission, he hopes to have a stem cell transplant in January. If not, he will continue with alternative treatments.
See the ‘Molar Express’ in the Mebane Christmas Parade on Friday, December 2nd at 7pm. The parade route begins at the intersection of Second and Clay Streets, running down Clay Street to Fifth Street before taking a right turn at the Lofts at White Furniture building.