HAVING A BALL: Stormers players Seabelo Senatla and Jaco Coetzee with Vihano Bester, 7, after his facial reconstructive surgery. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency.
Cape Town - The Stormers rugby team brought smiles to children’s faces during a visit to Oklahoma Street Primary School in Macassar, celebrating the transformation of seven-year-old Vihano Bester after his facial reconstructive surgery.

The Vodacom Foundation donated R3000 to the Smile Foundation for every try scored by the Stormers in this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition. The team’s campaign, Tries4Smiles, helped the Smile Foundation perform corrective surgeries on children born with facial anomalies.

Through the Tries4Smiles campaign, Vihano’s dream came true as he stood with his heroes and was able to smile for the first time in his life, after bravely enduring hours of facial reconstructive surgery.

Children with facial deformities could often be ostracised by their peers, said the principle specialist of sponsorship at Vodacom, Janus Kloppers.

Stormers and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said: “As sportsmen, we can be the trailblazers when it comes to enabling a better world for our future generations.”

The Stormers stood with the Bester family to celebrate their son’s heroic journey.

Hedley Lewis, chief executive of the Smile Foundation, said the Stormers’ visit to Oklahoma Street Primary raised awareness in the surrounding communities as well as helped alleviate the stigma surrounding children with facial deformities.

This year, every try scored made a difference to children’s lives, proving that the impact of sport could extend beyond just a game and give a child the ability to smile in the presence of his role models.

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Cape Argus