Baby Kabelo ahead of a cleft lip repair surgery done through a partnership between the Smile Foundation, an academic hospital and private sector doctors. File picture: Masi Losi
Johannesburg - The Smile Foundation is appealing to South Africans from all walks of life to make a big difference in the lives of children with cleft lips and palates and other facial anomalies by taking part in its latest fundraiser. 

The foundation is running the Win-a Car-raffle, which will see citizens stand a chance to win a KIA Picanto. 

The funds raised will be used specifically to assist the Tygerberg Hospital in  Cape Town with its paediatric surgical backlog. 

The hospital services a massive  catchment area, from the desert in the north to the sea in the south, with some  families travelling for days just to bring their children to the hospital for the surgery  they so desperately need.

The Smile Foundation assists the hospital by covering both the theatre slate as well as logistical costs in getting the children and their guardians to the hospital for their operations.

Without this vital support, these children would have to wait for their surgeries, often missing the window for timeous surgical intervention, as their cases get delayed to make room for emergency procedures.

Speaking of the fundraiser was co-founder and executive chairman of the foundation Marc Lubner, who said:  “The foundation was founded at the request of Mr Nelson Mandela – an honourable  man who believed in the power of community, especially community coming together  to help others. That is the idea behind this fundraiser; it is true Ubuntu in action. 

As  South Africans, an act of responsible kindness will certainly change the outcome of  the lives of children living with facial abnormalities. We come together as the  Rainbow Nation being bonded by this act of kindness. Your fifty Rand changes not  just one life but the lives of families and future generations to come. It shows that we  South Africans care."

Adding to this was KIA Motors SA marketing director David Sieff who spoke of the company's involvement in the campaign.

“KIA Motors has a longstanding association with Smile Foundation and it’s a privilege for us to donate a KIA Picanto as the main prize for the raffle," he said.

“It is a token of our ongoing support of the incredible work the organisation does and is but one way in which we believe we can assist in making the joy visible through the smiles of our nation’s children.”

Alex Zuhlke, acting Head of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Tygerberg Hospital, meanwhile spoke of the difference the extra theatre will make in the treatment of cleft lip and palate patients as well as children with facial anomalies. 

“The extra theatre list sponsored by the Smile Foundation plays an integral part in the treatment of cleft lip and palate patients and other children with facial anomalies at Tygerberg Hospital, providing a safe space for the timeous correction and allowing those children to grow up without the stigma associated, giving them a better start in life," he said. 

The Smile Foundation is dedicated to providing funding and support for children who need  facial reconstructive surgery. 

Smile collaborates with Academic Hospitals nationally  to facilitate these life-changing surgeries for children as young as a few months to  young adulthood, helping them and their families on what is sometimes a very  difficult journey.

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