Surgeons at Tygerberg Hospital are giving laaities a new lease on life this week.
The Smile Foundation’s Smile Week, sponsored by healthcare group Adcock Ingram, kicked off on Monday, and during this week, surgeons will perform free surgeries forchildren with various conditions such as cleft lip and cleft palate, congenital hand and foot abnormalities, and the more complex craniofacial reconstruction.
On Tuesday, 10-year-old Andre Daniels from Elsies River went under the knife. He was born with Crouzon syndrome, a rare genetic disorder affecting the shape of a child’s head and face, causing issues that can affect their sight, hearing and breathing in many cases.
Mom Catherine says: “Andre gets bullied a lot by other children. It breaks my heart when they mock him and laugh in his face. He is always asked why his eyes are so big and is called terrible names.
“I always tell him that he is a special creation and that he needs to be brave because things will get better after his operation.”
Northpine resident and mother of 10-month-old Xia, Natalie Samuels, said that her daughter’s cleft condition was only noticed after birth.
She was referred to the Smile Foundation and corrective surgery was performed on 29 July.
Natalie says: “It was not an easy journey. I think people can try and prepare you as much as possible in the beginning but they can’t really prepare you for post-operative care and they can’t prepare you for going into the recovery room. It feels like you’re going to fetch a different child.”
Tygerberg Hospital Head of Plastic Surgery Professor Nick Kairinos said surgeons perform the cases free of charge.
He urged the public to continue making donations to the Smile Foundation so that more children can be assisted.