News Room


19 Western Cape children given the gift of a smile

2013/06/17 00:00:00

The best Christmas gift of all – the chance to smile!

Life-changing surgery for 43 Western Cape children living with facial anomalies


Cape Town, South Africa:

In what will undoubtedly be their best Christmas ever, 43 children from across the Western Cape will this month receive new smiles, or take another step closer to realizing that dream.  This will happen as they undergo life-changing surgeries for various facial anomalies as part of the Adcock Ingram Smile Week, hosted at the Tygerberg Academic Hospital from the 9 to 13 November 2015.


At one year’s old, little Amyoli from Khayelitsha will be undergoing reconstructive surgery. He was diagnosed with a craniofacial abnormality called plagiocephaly (right coronal syntosis). He will be undergoing surgery for the first time this Smile Week to correct the condition, with an incision being made from ear to ear in order to rearrange the abnormal bones of his skull.


Twelve-year-old Ilke suffered from facial paralysis. She previously had facial reanimation surgery and now will be undergoing surgery to improve her cheek fullness.


11 year old Rudawaan from Bredasdorp will be undergoing second stage ear reconstruction whereby the ear will be lifted from the head to reconstruct a sulcus. First surgery was done in February 2014 by Prof Graewe where cartilage from the rib was placed under the skin. For the second stage, the ear will be elevated for better projection.


These are just three of the 43 children from the Western Cape who will receive truly life-changing reconstructive surgery this Smile Week, made possible through the generous funding by Adcock Ingram and the support of Smile Foundation.


“On behalf of the entire Smile Foundation team, I would like to express our thanks to Adcock Ingram for believing in the need to support Paediatric patients in the Public Health Sector.  We are very excited to work collaboratively with Professor Frank Graewe and Dr Alexander Zühlke and their surgical team during this Adcock Ingram Smile Week.  There are so many children in this region needing corrective surgery, and it will be very gratifying for us to see them having these needed operations at Tygerberg Academic Hospital. A huge thank you to hospital administration for giving us the opportunity to continue supporting this Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery throughout the year and, and enabling the surgeons to give so many more children the chance to smile and be confident members of their communities,” says Moira Gerszt, Operations Executive Director at Smile Foundation.


“Adcock Ingram is proud to be associated with the Smile Week project as we believe that ‘Adding value to life’ is not a luxury, but a necessity.  In celebration of the Adcock Ingram 125th anniversary commemorated this year, we have selected the Smile Week project as one of a number of charities that we will support,” said Ms Doreen Kosi, Adcock Ingram executive in charge of the company’s Public Affairs Department.  “We are committed to improving the health and lives of the people in the markets we serve.  Thus the work achieved during this week contributes directly towards the rights to health of these children, as espoused in our Constitution,” she concluded.


Currently one in 750 South African children is born with a facial anomaly.  Smile Foundation has been partnering with Academic Hospitals in South Africa for more than 15 years to assist underprivileged children with facial anomalies, alleviating backlogs in the hospitals, encouraging skills transfer and offering psychological support before, during and after surgery as well as supporting the hospital infrastructure.


The success of the Smile Week model has been widespread. To date, over 1600 children have benefited from surgeries around the country through partnerships with funders and state Academic Hospitals.