In South Africa, approximately 1 in every 723 babies are born with a Cleft Lip and or Palate.
The chances of a baby being born with a Cleft Lip and or Palate is 0.14%.
With this Foundation, we wish to not only raise funds for the surgeries, but also offer support to these families and to create awareness about Clefts in South Africa.
What is a Cleft Lip?
A Cleft Lip is a congenital defect that is present at birth. It is a noticeable gap in an infant’s lip and may occur on one or both sides of the lip, stretching to the nose.
What is a Cleft Palate?
A Cleft Palate is a congenital defect that is present at birth. It is a gap in the roof of the mouth that extends to the nose.
What is the impact of this deformity?
Both birth defects can affect the way infants feed and suckle, and can also impact their growth and development, including dental and speech development, just to mention a few.
All of our members of the Blissful Cleft Foundation share a unique care and passion for babies born with a Cleft Lip and or Palate. We want to support parents who cannot afford to pay for these very costly operations, and in this way be able to give these warrior children their forever smiles.
We are so excited to share this blog with Tummies Full of Love, who is also our food supplier for all our Cleft Warriors while they are recovering from surgeries.
With the Blissful Cleft Foundation just a few months shy of turning two years old we thought it might be best to take you back and share a bit of what the Blissful Cleft Foundation has achieved so far and what we are planning for the next year.
In July 2020 our dream started; five of our team members came together and over a cup of coffee we exchanged ideas, dreams, and hopes for the Foundation. We agreed that even if we could only help one child it would be our greatest achievement. With the surgical fees running over R110,000.00 per operation we planned on raising funds for at least one operation before Christmas 2020. Giving a forever smile for Christmas. That was our dream. And wow, we could never have imagined how amazing the next year turned out to be.
On the 24th of August 2020, The Blissful Cleft Foundation was successfully registered as a Non-Profit Organisation.
We knew we had to plan an amazing event in order to raise funds to give at least one child a forever smile for Christmas. In the following month we worked hard and planned our first Golf Day. Do anyone of us play Golf? No. Do we watch Golf? Maybe Robbie, Suzanne’s husband. Do we know anything about Golf? Not at all; but we did it. And we enjoyed every minute planning this special occasion. The thought that this day is the start of something new and the biggest chance we had to give at least one forever smile energised us, gave us hope and allowed us to make it a success. Little did we know just how successful the day would be. With 27 four balls booked in less than 3 weeks, 120 people joining for the dinner event and auction items sold, we raised enough funds to carry us through the year. Those of you who joined us, thank you. Thank you for your part in the Blissful Cleft Foundation’s start up and our journey towards changing smiles and lives.
In November 2020 we did a virtual fundraiser on Facebook – #GiveASmileForChristmas
The 11th of November 2020 was a big highlight for us. We joined hands with GrootFM – Jou mense, my mense, and we gave our first family hope. On air we announced to Damon’s parents that the Blissful Cleft Foundation has approved their application and that Damon will receive his first operation toward his bilateral cleft lip and palate deformity. This was truly a special day.
Then came the 21st of November 2020 – our first cleft related surgery. Shiloh Mansfield underwent her procedure and a tongue flap for oronasal fistula closure was done at Midstream Cure Day Hospital. This day will always have a special place in our hearts. Shiloh was accompanied by her aunt as her mother passed away a few months earlier, she feared the hospital because she associated a hospital with the loss of her mommy. I will always remember how the team members from the Foundation stayed with Shiloh the entire day to make sure she was okay. We were in absolute awe of how this was our first operation with the second one already planned and booked. We were humbled.
On the 3rd of December 2020, the Blissful Cleft Foundation gave our first forever smile. It happened. Our one operation we planned, hoped, and dreamed for became a reality. It was not only a big day for us, but also an unforgettable day for Damon and his parents. Damon Theunissen received his long overdue soft palate, hard palate and lip repair at Midstream Mediclinic.
On the 12th of February 2021 we did our THIRD operation. Yes. Our third operation! We could also not believe it. We planned on one, we were now at three. For good Mokwena received her hard palate fistula repair at Midstream Cure Day Hospital.
On the 14th of February 2021 the Blissful Cleft Foundation did our virtual cleft run. We had over 100 runners, cyclers and even horse riders joining in from all over South Africa. What a fun day this was for all who participated.
On the 1st of March 2021 the Foundation partnered up with the Mudpie Company situated in the Bluff, Durban. This NGO knits teddy bears for fellow NGO’s. They have volunteered to knit each of our cleft warriors a teddy bear which they can take home.
The 11th of March 2021 our fourth operation took place. Jesse Snyman received his soft palate and lip repair, nasal floor and maxillary frenulectomy at Midstream Mediclinic.
26th of March 2021 our fifth operation, wow, number 5! Rowan Trollip received his hard palate repair at the age of 4 years old at Cure Day Midstream Hospital.
24 – 30th April 2021 we had the opportunity to do a virtual event with Gretha Wiid – As die lewe jou gooi met suurlemoene. We sold just over 200 tickets.
On the 3rd of September 2021 we had the privilege to give another forever smile before our second annual Golf Day which took place on the 17th of September. At Cure Day Hospital Midstream we did a lip repair for Keseabetse Makolo. And this was also our 6th operation – How amazing is that?
We ended off 2021 with one more Christmas smile. Tshegofatso celebrated her Christmas with a beautiful new smile.
We kicked of 2022 with an operation for Juander Stander and surgically repaired his soft palate. We reached out to Tummies Full Of Love for advice and provided Juander with a food pack serving him two meals each day for three weeks to ensure his soft palate heals with the right nutrition and post-operative care. We are excited that this operation also opened up a new opportunity to partner with Tummies Full Of Love to provide healthy meals for our Cleft Warriors while they recover.
On the 30th of April 2022 we hosted a fun run (our first non-virtual run) in collaboration with the Botanical Garden Parkrun in Pretoria and Round Table 201.
Juander’s second surgery was then done on the 23rd of June. Marita from Tummies Full Of Love joined us on this special day and really spoilt this little boy with a box filled with goodies.
This year we also launched the ‘Friends of the Blissful Cleft Foundation’ and we are so grateful to have Tummies Full Of Love as one of our Friends.
What does the rest 2022 look like for the Blissful Cleft Foundation?
We have four more events coming up this year:
On the 9th of August 2022 we are excited to celebrate Women’s Day at the Atterbury Theatre with two events – A ladies morning with Nadia Beukes and a few of her special friends and then a girls night with Elandré.
Round Table is hosting their annual golf day on the 12th of August and we are super excited and grateful to be part of this day. All the proceeds of this day will go to the Blissful Cleft Foundation and Round Table 201 Fund.
And last, but not least we will be hosting our 3rd annual Golf Day on the 4th of November 2022.
For more information on any of our events, surgeries done or to get involved, please visit our Facebook page, Instagram page or website: www.blissfulcleft.org
All our Blissful love,
The Blissful Cleft Foundation team.