Fund-raiser to help patients waiting for reconstructive surgery

Little Rhiaadra, 2, is waiting for surgery

The Smile Foundation is calling for support for its campaign to help patients and their families while waiting for reconstructive surgery postponed because of Covid-19,

According to Hedley Lewis, chief executive of the Smile Foundation – a non-profit organisation that helps children born with cleft deformities get reconstructive surgery – they have started a raffle to help the patients and their families. Buying a R100 ticket gives you a shot at a R100 000 prize. 

Many of the children awaiting surgery stay at the hospital, which leads to extra costs and their families often require money to travel to and from these hospitals, which has prompted the organisation to raise funds to help those affected. 

“The reconstructive surgery required to assist these children not only puts hundreds of children needing life-changing surgery at a disadvantage, but the costs will run into hundreds of thousands of rands to try to catch up to pre-Covid levels of service. Unfortunately, this situation is completely beyond everyone’s control, and as South Africa hits its peak of the COVID-19 virus it is unclear when elective surgeries will be allowed.”

Ms Lewis said that only trauma cases had been attended to during lockdown, resulting in a backlog of elective procedures, such as plastic and reconstructive surgeries. 

“While delaying the surgeries is absolutely necessary for the safety of all patients, it means that these already vulnerable children will face increased challenges. We’re calling on members of the South African public to help us to continue to provide critical support to these children and their families during these unprecedented times while they wait for their much-needed surgeries,” Ms Lewis said.

“A long-term successful outcome for a cleft lip or palate means a baby needs to be operated on within the first 12 months, especially for speech development. Delaying the surgeries could result in long-term permanent issues including never learning to speak correctly.”

The raffle draw date is on World Smile Day, Friday October 2. To enter, click here or visit www.smilefoundation.co.za