Chantel Jansen with her baby Kiara, who is among 18 children benefiting from free reconstructive surgery thanks to the Smile Foundation. Photo: Supplied
Chantel Jansen with her baby Kiara, who is among 18 children benefiting from free reconstructive surgery thanks to the Smile Foundation. Photo: Supplied

Free reconstructive surgery at Tygerberg hospital giving back a child's dignity

By Raphael Wolf Time of article published Nov 13, 2019

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Cape Town – To put smiles on the faces of children affected by abnormal facial and other conditions, surgeons will perform free reconstructive surgery for 18 children at Tygerberg Hospital.

Scheduled from yesterday until Friday, the operations form part of the hospital’s Smile Week commemoration, in partnership with the Smile Foundation SA.

Among the beneficiaries is 11-month-old Brandon, who was born with a rare congenital skull condition causing his skull to develop abnormally.  

To correct his head shape and reduce the pressure on his developing brain, an expert team of surgeons will reshape Brandon’s skull in a procedure called vault remodelling.

The operation will also alleviate the physical and emotional distress caused by his condition, according to Smile Foundation Operations Director Moira Gerszt.

Brandon’s mother, Sunette, said his condition had been very challenging to deal with and had made the family’s already strained financial position even more difficult.

“This surgery will enable Brandon to lead a full, productive life, something every child deserves,” said Gerszt.

The Smile Foundation was immensely grateful to the doctors and staff at Tygerberg Hospital for their commitment, valuable time and expertise, as well as to Vodacom, who had been a generous finance donor-partner in changing hundreds of children’s lives since 2007.

Tygerberg Hospital Head of Department of Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery Professor Sammy Al Benna said the children who were to be operated on and their families would now be able to be accepted into their communities and move forward.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said: “The most significant part about this partnership between Smile Foundation, Vodacom and Tygerberg Hospital is not just in restoring a child’s face through surgery, it is in restoring a child’s dignity, restoring a mother’s faith and allowing doctors to perform their duties.”

To make a donation, visit: www.smilefoundation.co.za or call 0861 276 453. SMS “Smile” to 38413 to donate R10.

Cape Times

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