Children left with smiles

2018-09-26 06:00

A total of 22 children are beaming with a smile after their lives changed for the better.

This is after they underwent surgery that gave them a smile. Surgeries were performed at the Bloemfontein’s Universitas Academic Hospital.

These life-changing operations were part of Smile Week, from 3 to 7 September, courtesy of the Smile Foundation and the sponsor Roadmac Surfacing.

Among the 22 children are the six-year-old Tabo (his surname is withheld) and Charity Jordaan (8) who were affected by rare conditions.

Tabo was diagnosed with macrodactyly, a rare condition in which an infant or young child’s fingers or toes are abnormally large due to an overgrowth of bone and soft tissue. The surgical team at the Universitas Academic Hospital has changed this condition which results in low esteem. The boy from Fouriesburg received reconstructive surgery that has given him a lease of life.

Surgery entailed cutting away the enlarged tissue on his toes. This will enable him to once again wear shoes and lead a pain-free life like the rest of his friends.

Not only has he had to withstand the freezing temperatures most mornings as he goes to school barefoot, but he has had to endure the teasing of his peers because of having to go barefoot.

Tabo was always a boiste­rous boy, running and playing with his friends every chance he had. Tabo began to complain that his shoes were hurting his feet. His mother took him to the clinic and was referred to the Universitas Academic Hospital where he was diagnosed with macrodactyly.

Another relatively rare case involved Charity from Ritchie. She had her right ear reconstructed using part of her rib.

She was born with Goldenhar Syndrome, a rare congenital defect characterised by the incomplete development of the ear, nose, soft palate, lip and mandible. In Charity’s case, her pinna (external ear) is underdeveloped.

“As always, it is such a privilege for us at the Smile Foundation to work with our partners at the Universitas Academic Hospital, Prof Frederik Jooste and his team and other specialists, and our generous donor Roadmac Surfacing in making such positive changes to these children’s lives.

“A total of 22 lives have been irrevocably altered, giving all these youngsters a chance for a happier life,” said Moira Gerszt, operations executive director at the Smile Foundation.

  • “The alignment between Roadmac Surfacing and Smile Foundation is quite similar – Roadmac Surfacing restores and reconstructs roads for people and the Smile Foundation supports children in need of reconstructive surgery, restoring their dignity and self-worth, giving them the opportunity to live life to the fullest.” The Smile Foundation is a South African non-governmental organisation that assists children with any type of facial or other conditions, to receive reconstructive surgery within South Africa.

With partners, the foundation help children who suffer from treatable facial anomalies such as cleft lip and palate, all burns, Moebius syndrome (facial paralysis) and other conditions.

Life-changing surgeries are done through team-work with 11 academic hospitals in South Africa.

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