By Naadiya Adams
Twenty children in the Northern Cape will receive a new lease on life as they undergo desperately needed surgery during the Smile Foundation’s Smile Week at Kimberley’s Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital.
Smile Week, sponsored by Sasfin, takes place from the 16th to 20th November, operations include cleft lip and cleft palate repairs, contracture surgery, and skin grafting.
Smile Foundation CEO Hedley Lewis says that Smile Week continues to be instrumental in helping South African children living with abnormalities, to live normal, healthy lives. Though the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has presented unprecedented challenges in the delivery of vital medical care to those children in need, they’re delighted that surgeries have finally resumed and the major backlog in elective surgeries can be addressed, as the top priority remains ensuring they’re able to assist as many children as they can.
Six-year-old Onolo sustained a 50% flame burn in August of 2020 when a bottle of paraffin exploded as he stood next to a fire.
After spending nearly 2 months in Pediatric ICU and operations twice a week, Onolo was transferred to the specialist unit at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital’s Burns Unit where he was taken for skin grafting using a special device that meshed his skin to fit the multiple open areas.
In June Three-year-old Cleoshan sustained burns to his hands, arms and chest when he slipped and fell into a fire while playing outside. After multiple operations, the surgical team managed to save all his fingers but at the cost of severe contractures of the fingers.
These are just two of the children, whose lives will be forever touched by the kind hearted doctors and sponsors of these surgeries who aim to better the lives of children in need. Many of the kids are set to undergo procedures during Smile week.
Lewis has expressed immense gratitude to the Sasfin group, whose contribution has enabled the Smile Foundation to do crucial work in local communities.