File image: African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – The Western Cape Cerebral Palsy Association is to bid farewell to its collection doll.

For 66 years, "Suzy" was a familiar feature at shopping centres across the province. She wore a leg brace and held a teddy bear and a red collection box.

As part of the organisation’s cerebral palsy awareness campaign, during Cerebral Palsy Week from August 26 - 30, it will introduce a new logo, branding and online fundraising platform.

At its annual general meeting last year the organisation’s treasurer, Osman Shaboodien, reported that Suzy, which was once one of its biggest money makers, was becoming “extinct”.

The organisation said the doll would live on but on a digital platform.

More than 17 million people live with cerebral palsy worldwide. In South Africa, one in every 400 infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy, making it one of the most common physical disabilities.

The condition is a life-long disorder, and affects one’s ability to conduct voluntary movement and co-ordination because of injury or poor development of the brain.

These problems can occur during pregnancy, during the birth process, or immediately after birth (such as infections developed by either the mother or infant).

Western Cape Cerebral Palsy Association director Gadija Koopman said: “While living with cerebral palsy can be challenging to those diagnosed with it, as well as to their families, work is constantly being done to lift the stigma of disability.

“Through intervention therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, people with cerebral palsy can reach their potential and become happier, more involved adults with an accepted place in their communities.

"The Western Cape Cerebral Palsy Association has been providing services for the diagnosis, treatment, care, training and employment of people with cerebral palsy for the past 65 years,” she said.

The association provides a range of services to children and adults, as well as support to their families.

Last year, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Singapore started a campaign for the public to share their memories of the Suzy doll after a supermarket chain returned close to 20 of them.

Photo: Supplied