Smile week arrived in Bloemfontein, just in time to change the lives of some very brave children; families without private medical are able to see their children get the help needed thanks to the Smile Foundation.
Bloemfontein, South Africa (07 October 2021) – The greatest gift you can give someone is your time – a portion of your life that you can never get back. This is what makes Smile Week the great act of love that it is. Co-ordinated by Smile Foundation, Smile Week is a full working week, during which surgeons, their surgical teams, other medical professionals and staff invest their time to perform reconstructive surgery for children suffering from facial and other anomalies together with the emotional pain that goes hand-in-hand with these conditions.
The approaching Smile Week, is sponsored by Adcock Ingram in collaboration with the Smile Foundation and the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department of Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein. Adcock Ingram, a leading pharmaceutical Company in South Africa is no stranger to improving young lives through their long-standing commitment to the Smile Week model.
“We value Adcock Ingram’s continuous and generous support of Smile Weeks over the years; without the compassion and generosity of donors like Adcock Ingram, we would not be able to help as many children as we do. Since 2008, Adcock Ingram has been backing Smile Weeks and theatre slates across South Africa. For this we are incredibly appreciative. We would also like to express our deep appreciation for the dedicated Universitas Academic Hospital’s surgeons, medical professionals, and staff who will be clearing their schedules to give children the life-changing surgery that they need. And a heartfelt thank you goes out to Professor Corne Nel – whose unwavering commitment is what helps us continue the legacy of our well-run Smile Weeks.” shares Kim Robertson Smith, General Manager of Smile Foundation.
This Smile Week commences on 4 October 2021, during which 22 children will undergo life-changing surgery. Some of these brave young patients are, Oarabile and Kaylee.
Little Oarabile from Kroonstad, is almost a year and a half. She was born with a cleft lip and palate, syndactyly of her third and fourth fingers (co-joined fingers) and hydrocephalus – a serious condition in which an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid occurs in the ventricles of the brain resulting in a rapid increase in pressure within the skull.
Disheartened by the high cost of the surgery she needed, Oarabile’s family reached out to Smile Foundation, whose Smile Week initiative during November 2020 gave Oarabile the chance to successfully undergo the first phase of her surgery. She underwent cleft lip repair surgery and a VP shunt was inserted to drain the excess fluid in her brain.
The upcoming Smile Week will give Oarabile the chance to undergo the next phase of her surgery. This will involve a three-hour palatoplasty (repair of her cleft palate). Her young mom, Dimpho, a dedicated Grade 11 student trying her utmost to care for Oarabile while finishing school, is ever grateful that her little girl will have the chance at living a normal life.
Kaylee from Welkom, is now a year and a half. This little girl was born with a cleft palate and unlike most newborns, Kaylee was unable to open her eyes at birth. She was later diagnosed with Microphtalmia – a condition in which one or both eyes are abnormally small and eyesight is extremely poor due to a congenital hypoplasia of the eyeball.
Unable to afford private hospital fees, her parents turned to Smile Foundation for help and Kaylee was scheduled to undergo a cleft palate repair during Smile Week last November. Unfortunately, her surgery was cancelled due to her continuously contracting the flu – this along with the high risk of middle ear infections, hearing problems and aspiration of fluids, is a common outcome of children with a cleft palate. Thankfully Kaylee is now well enough for her cleft palate repair – a three-hour surgery that will take place during the upcoming Smile Week.
Her parents, Rudi and Anne-Mari are doing everything they can to care for their beloved daughter, who will need to attend a special-education school out of town and will potentially need further surgery due to her visual impairment.
“At Smile Foundation, we believe that it’s not just about how much you give, but rather how much love you put into the giving. This love gives us the power to change lives. We are deeply passionate about helping children and intend to help give every child what all children deserve – a secure sense of self.” concludes Kim Robertson Smith.
If you would like to support the Smile Foundation, you can do so here.