An Oranjezicht-based non-profit organisation (NPO), Steps Clubfoot Care encourages the public to get active by walking 1 000 steps to help them raise funds for treatment.
The NPO is embarking on its third annual #Steptember campaign to support children born with clubfoot syndrome.
The public is urged to make monetary donations and to create their separate BackaBuddy pages to spread the word about the fundraiser and help raise the yearly target of R50 000.
Alternatively, one may add the campaign as a MySchool beneficiary or by making a monthly recurring donation on the NPO’s website www.steps.org.za.
Karen Moss, the founder of the NPO, says they have faith that support will be positive this year. She says they have been witnessing growing numbers over the past two years since the campaign was founded.
“We have had people contact us to make regular donations, and we find that our partner clinics have more enrolments during an active campaign,” says Karen.
The funds will help get more babies into effective clubfoot treatments. The organisation mostly supports children from underprivileged backgrounds whose families cannot afford to pay the costs of the treatment. It costs R2 500 to treat one child.
Karen says though getting funds is key, it is also important to emphasise the need to educate parents about the condition and the importance of having it treated from an early stage.
“The treatment takes four to five years,” Moss says.
This is due to the maintenance phase of sleeping with a clubfoot brace at night until the healing process is complete.
Karen says they currently have almost 3 000 children at their partner clinics nationwide.
Luke Engels, the marketing manager at the NPO, says they aim to change the lives of at least 20 children born with clubfoot syndrome.
Steptember is one of the two initiatives they run annually. The other is held in June, in line with the commemoration of World Clubfoot Day (3 June).
Luke says this year the June campaign focused on patient stories, to encourage parents to learn and educate the community with stories of hope despite their circumstances.
He says they had parties at participating clinics where people were asked to dress in yellow to support Clubfoot awareness.
“This is a great morale booster at clinics and helps us to reach our goal of building a positive and supportive clubfoot community without stigma or ignorance,” says Luke.
He says advocacy is key to their innovative clubfoot impact model.
“Campaigns like #Steptember help us to spread the message that clubfoot can be treated. The campaign is going from strength to strength and we’re gaining momentum each year,” he adds.
Luke explains that clubfoot is the most common musculoskeletal birth defect where a baby is born with one or both feet twisted downwards and inwards, in a rigid position. He says the South African “black population” has the second-highest rate of clubfoot incidence in the world, with one baby in every 500 births affected. Every year over 2 000 babies are born in South Africa with clubfoot.