Dear friend of Steps,

2018 has been a tough year for many. News sites are filled with heartbreak and challenges, and some stories and politicians so crazy that I need to check it’s not a fake news site.

We at Steps see these struggles mirrored in clubfoot clinics, and the families we support. Families bravely accepting the reality of a birth defect, and supporting their precious baby through treatment. Tiny babies having weekly full-leg plaster casts applied in busy hospital rooms, with families and medical students watching anxiously and trying to stop the crying – both babies and adults! And working in the non-profit and public health sector is not for sissies, funding is tight and systems are not fully functional.

But let’s not dwell on the endless list of the sad and depressing. As we head off to celebrate the festive season with our loved ones, I also want to celebrate that the human spirit is beautiful and unbreakable.

Clubfoot clinics are special places. Yes, there can be worry, frustration and fear, but there is also a huge amount of joy, hope and love. And we are privileged to work with incredible medical teams that use the Ponseti method to change thousands of children’s lives.

As we at Steps head off for a break with our families, I look back on an exciting year of highlights, with acknowledgement and thanks to my passionate and talented team, the skilled and dedicated paediatric orthopaedic surgeons and other healthcare workers we partner with, and our very active board members:

  • Our model of working in public health to improve the lives of clubfoot patients won us 2nd prize at SAB Foundation Social innovation Disability Empowerment Awards, an astounding achievement that we are so excited about.
  • We also won 1st overall Audience Choice Award at the SAB Foundation Social Innovation awards, which was a thrilling bonus and endorsement of our work.
  • We put on our party frocks and black tie and threw our first ‘One Small Step’ charity auction dinner at the glamorous One&Only in Cape Town with the hilarious Marc Lottering, Dan Nicholl, and our clubfoot (and world) champion Cameron van der Burgh.
  • We worked on the CEDA (Clubfoot Early detection and adherence) project with our friends from Cure Clubfoot (Hope Walks) which will train hundreds of parent educators working in Africa and other parts of the world.
  • We had our first ever experience as a Cape Town Cycle Tour charity. It was full of fun and surprises, including an extremely generous donation from a private donor and his friends that supported the treatment of 260 children!

When 2019 starts our ‘Steam’ will be energised and ready to achieve even more. We have lots of exciting plans and news which we will share in the new year.

Thank you for sharing another year with us. Thank you for taking a bit of your precious time to read our news, thank you for the social media comments, the generous donations, the cycling, the running, the awards, the dedicated medical care, the gratitude, the hugs, and to so many of you, your belief in us and your generosity of spirit that encourages us to always do our best for the babies we support.

Warmest wishes for a very merry festive season,

Karen
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