With the festive spirit beginning to make its presence felt, 13 deserving children will receive the gift of a lifetime this November – a chance to look a little more like their friends and enjoy a more comfortable life. A series of surgical operations will be undertaken as part of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital Smile Week, supported by Labello.
Smile Week is a national initiative facilitated by the NGO, Smile Foundation, in which children from disadvantaged and rural areas receive life-changing surgeries to correct treatable facial anomalies. To date, the foundation has helped provide the funds to cover the medical needs of the department, psychological support and post-operative care for more than 2500 children across South Africa receiving such operations.
Smile Foundation works with the country’s academic hospitals to provide the surgeries, which are performed by the resident surgeons.
As part of this Smile Week, surgeons will perform three ear reconstructive surgeries. These surgeries are necessary to correct abnormalities of the ears as a result of congenital deformities. They are complex operations, conducted in three phases: first the new ear is designed from the patient’s own rib cartilage, where it is placed in a skin pocket. Next, three months later, the ear is lifted to match the other ear. The third and final stage is to touch up the correction.
Aside from these three ear reconstructive surgeries, surgeons will perform a variety of surgeries including cleft lip and cleft palate repairs; an ear keloid excision and an eyelid Goldweight insertion.
Moira Gerszt, Smile Foundation’s Operations Executive Director, says the three children receiving these surgeries next week have waited a long time for this very important day. “Due to their rate of growth, children have to wait until they are seven years old before undergoing this type of surgery. Ear reconstructive surgery improves a child’s self-esteem. No child likes looking different; we are happy we can play a small role in helping these children to lead more normal lives,” says Gerszt.
All these surgeries have been made possible by the generous donation of R 250,000 from lip care brand Labello. Labello Brand Manager, Sinenhlanhla Mambi said, “In June, a Labello dual-pack, namely ‘Share your Beautiful Smile’, was developed. We encouraged consumers to buy the pack of two and share one with a friend, with R2 off every pack and a further R1 for a picture upload, donated to Smile Foundation. Consumers really joined in to help, and we are thrilled that, as a result, the lives of 13 incredibly brave children will be so greatly enhanced.”
The media are invited to attend the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital Smile Week, supported by Labello. A media briefing will be held on Tuesday, 7 November 2017 at 10am at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Ward 13. Interested media can contact the Smile Foundation’s Toni Jabour on 072 350 2891.