Give children a chance to smile again

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Support the Smile Foundation's raffle and help kids like Rhiaadra, a 2-year-old child diagnosed with Aperts Syndrome, a genetic disorder which involves the skull, the face and both hands and feet.

To assist hundreds of children in need of life-changing surgery, the Smile Foundation is calling on South Africans to support its latest project to put the smile back on the faces of our little ones.

According to the foundation all elective surgeries have been postponed, not only across South Africa, but globally, to ensure patient safety and enable hospitals to effectively respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Only urgent oncology and trauma cases have received surgery during lockdown, resulting in a significant backlog of elective surgeries, including plastic and reconstructive surgery for children in desperate need.

Hedley Lewis, CEO of the Smile Foundation, says a number of children supported by the Smile Foundation are awaiting surgery at various hospitals across the country.

“The reconstructive surgery required to assist these children not only puts hundreds of children needing life-changing surgery at a disadvantage, but the costs will run into hundreds of thousands of rands to try and catch up to pre-Covid levels of service.”

To help alleviate the backlogs and in order for the Smile Foundation to continue providing urgent assistance to these children and their families, the organisation has created a raffle where your name will be entered into a draw for R100 per ticket. Participants stand the chance of winning an incredible R100,000 cash prize.

The raffle draw date is on World Smile Day, Friday 2 October 2020. To enter, please click here https://smilefoundationsa.org/2020-raffle/ or visit www.smilefoundation.co.za. Terms and Conditions apply.

“With your help, Smile Foundation will be able to offer these children an opportunity to live a better life. While delaying the surgeries is absolutely necessary for the safety of all patients, they mean that these already vulnerable children will face increased challenges.”

An example of how the lockdown has impacted patients, is the story of patient Rhiaadra, a 2-year-old child diagnosed with Aperts Syndrome, a genetic disorder which involves the skull, the face and both hands and feet.

Not only does Aperts Syndrome produce a cosmetic deformity that makes children very self-conscious and can lead to significant emotional distress, but the pressure on the developing brain can lead to clinical symptoms, such as chronic headaches and can disrupt intellectual development. The fingers and toes are webbed and fused which severely impairs hand function.

According to the foundation, Rhiaadra’s surgery was scheduled to take place on 2 June 2020. This specific surgery aimed to make more space for her brain to protect her eyes because there is currently no protection due to the shape of her skull. Given lockdown and the steep rise in Covid cases countrywide, the surgery has been provisionally rescheduled for September 2020.

For more information please contact Lisa Kalk on 0836750750 or send an email to lisakalk@gmail.com.

Pieter Delport

pieterd@mahareng.co.za