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18 Children to undergo surgery at Tygerberg Hospital Smile Week - Proudly supported by Vodacom Foundation

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Infant to undergo surgery for skull condition

An 11-month-old baby boy from the Western Cape, suffering from a rare congenital condition causing the skull to develop abnormally, will undergo corrective surgery at Tygerberg Hospital.

Baby Brandon was born with Scaphocephaly, a type of disorder which occurs when there is a premature fusion of the sagittal suture. The sagittal suture joins together the 2 parietal bones of the skull. This is the most common of the craniosynostosis conditions characterized by a long, narrow head shape.

The condition affects approximately 1 in every 5000 births and can cause brain damage or development issues.

An expert medical team will perform this surgery at Tygerberg Hospital, sponsored by Vodacom. Brandon is one of 18 children being operated on as part of Tygerberg’s Hospital Smile Week at the hospital taking place from 11 – 15 November.

Smile Foundation Operations Director Moira Gerszt says, “This surgery willenable Brandon to lead a full, productive life, something every child deserves. Smile Foundation is immensely grateful to the doctors and staff members at Tygerberg Hospital for their commitment, valuable time and expertise, as well as to Vodacom, who has generously partnered with us to change the lives of hundreds of children since 2007.”

“Children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.” This seminal quote by Tata Madiba captures the essence of our 12 year partnership with the Smile Foundation, working together to put the smile back onto the children’s faces with free corrective facial reconstructive surgery and treatments to over 570 children to date. Brand Vodacom, as a telco with strong local roots, we are quite deliberate about playing a meaningful role in providing children a better future where they can reach their full potential. It is our sincere hope that the 18 children to undergo surgeries today can spread their winds and fly high above the sky, reach their full potential and one day play a meaningful role in society.”

Brandon’s condition was picked up in utero when doctors noticed in scans that his head was abnormally large.  His mother Sunette, who was pregnant with twins, says she was bed-ridden for a lengthy period before being admitted to Tygerberg Hospital. She gave birth to Brandon and his sister Stacey at 36 weeks. At birth it was clearly visible that Brandon had scaphocephaly.

She says Brandon’s condition has been very challenging to deal with, adding that it has also made the family’s already constrained financial position even more difficult. The family, including Sunette, her husband, two older children, and Brandon and Stacey, live in a wendy house on their grandmother’s property.

“The constant questioning and stares from the community have gravely impacted us as a family. People are constantly giving me ointments and medication to try rectify his condition.”

Now in its 19th year, Smile Week has helped change the lives of over 3500 children since its inception. Chief Patron, the late honorable Nelson Mandela passionately supported Smile Foundation with the aim of reaching as many children in need as possible.

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18 Children to undergo surgery at Tygerberg Hospital Smile Week - Proudly supported by Vodacom Foundation | Vodacom Group