19 Western Cape children given the gift of a smile

Imagine what your life would be like if you were unable to smile.

This is the fate of 19 Western Cape children with facial conditions causing them to be unable to smile or eat and drink properly.

However, thanks to Smile Foundation, Adcock Ingram and the surgeons and medical staff at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, their lives will be changed forever this week.

They will receive facial reconstructive surgery free of charge during this Adcock Ingram Smile Week held here from 10 - 14 June.   

The ages of children who will receive surgery vary from as young as 2 years, to 12 years of age.

Cases vary from Cleft Lip and cleft Palate, ear and nose reconstruction and corrections, to hand cases, one craniofacial case and other minor facial procedures.

Says Moira Gerszt, Operations Executive Director of Smile Foundation, “These children are the VIP’s who are benefiting from a collaborative effort by Smile Foundation, Adcock Ingram and the hospital and its staff.”

Gerszt continues, “Besides the varied types of surgeries being offered to the patients, there is a sense of working together with other specialties within this hospital.  We are grateful to be able to play a part in supporting the hospital during this Smile Week.”

The surgeries are being made possible with the generous funding of one of the leading South African pharmaceutical manufacturers, marketer and distributor, Adcock Ingram. 

Says Zolani Kunene, External Communications Manager at Adcock Ingram, “Adcock Ingram is in the business of adding value to people’s lives in many different ways, and this is one way for the company to contribute  by providing the means for these children  to have the surgery that will change their lives and their family’s lives for the better.”

Kunene continues, “The partnership between the Smile Foundation, the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Adcock Ingram started in 2010 and has resulted in over 70 young lives being changed.”

“At the end of the week the bright smiles, not only on the children’s faces but also their parents’, is the biggest reward we could enjoy in adding value to their lives,” concludes Kunene.

The Smile Foundation has been partnering with Academic Hospitals in South Africa for over 12 years.  Adcock Ingram has partnered with the Smile Foundation for four years, to help underprivileged children with facial conditions, alleviating backlogs in the hospitals, encouraging skills transfer, offering psychological help before, during and after surgery and supporting the hospital infrastructure where appropriate.

The success of the Smile Week model is widespread. To date, over 1000 children have benefited from surgeries around the country through the partnership with state academic hospitals.

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