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LTR: Lynette Dean, Heléna Cullis & Sarah Barnes

This announcement is bitter sweet for me to write and comes at a time where Cleft Friends moves into double digits. Sarah Barnes is handing over the role of Clinical Advisory for Cleft Friends a project of Smile Foundation to Lynette Dean.

Sarah has been the glue in Cleft Friends since 2012 when she joined the Smile Foundation Team in her capacity as a Vodacom Change the World Volunteer. She has mentored and journeyed with Cleft Friends from conceptualization until now. We started out merely with a website and big ideas. Thinking back to the first training we hosted in 2012 and then thinking about the 25 trained support moms nationally that we have to date. The gazillion drafts of the “Cleft Lip and Palate Parent Guide” we endured and wrote and re wrote until we were both happy. Establishing the Cleft Friends regional Whatsapp groups and managing the conversations. Sarah has played a vital role in establishing the phases of support that Cleft Friends uses to support mothers i.e. survival phase, emotional phase and moving forward phase. Together we analyzed the start, middle and end of a lived experience for someone born with a cleft lip and palate. By “end” we mean end of surgeries needed for their specific diagnosis and input from a cleft team relating to each person individually. We tackled the emotions experienced by parents and how we can empower, educate and advocate all South Africans affected by cleft lip and palate. Sarah has provided on-going support for the Cleft Friends support moms nationally for the past 7 years. She has been the go to person for all things ethical and support related. Sarah we will miss you! Your prescribed ice-cream moments after feeling overwhelmed have always and will always be good medicine to our team.

I have known Lynette for over a decade and am excited to have her join the Cleft Friends Team. Lynette is a counselling psychologist based in Port Elizabeth.  She began her private practice in 2001, after completing her internship at Hunterscraig Private Psychiatric Hospital.  She has been involved with Smile Foundation for several years as a Psychologist in the Port Elizabeth region.  In her private practice, she has worked extensively with women’s mental health issues.  She does work with the couples undergoing infertility issues and also works with parents of premature babies, helping them cope to the challenges in the NICU.  Her work also involves working with women experiencing Post-Partum Distress and Anxiety and was the Port Elizabeth contact for the Postnatal Depression and Anxiety Group of South Africa (PNDSA) till it closed a few years ago. However, she has continued to work with new mothers adjusting to motherhood.  She is a mother and a proud grandmother.

On the 6th of May 2019 we met at the Smile Foundation Head Office for an official hand over from Sarah to Lynette. We look forward to the next phase of Cleft Friends and growing from strength to strength.

Closing the gap!



#cleftfriends #smilefoundationsa #closingthegap #youarenotalone #cleftlip #cleftpalate #cleftstrong #cleftmomsSA #cleftcourage

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Contact Details

Email: info@cleftfriends.co.za
Phone: (082) 393 1206

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