Back to school Patient Stories – Peter John Williams

Peter – John has reached a milestone in 2024 by starting High School and he is a happy Chappy full of life and vigour and ready to pack on and take on this year of being a Highschooler, but he says he is forever a Smile Patient.

Peter- John was born under difficult circumstances for his Mom at Eben Donges Hospital ( now Worcester Hospital ) and she was very anxious and nervous upon giving birth by C-section and this little baby was crying a lot. She had two other children and she managed fine with them, but she did not know what she was doing wrong and was blaming herself that her baby could not latch on to her. After a few hours and by this time Peter- John was placed in the nursery and the next minute she was surrounded by 4 Doctors, she was beside herself with worry and they explained to her, he was born with a Cleft Palate and his was not the normal hole in the palate but there was an enormous hole virtually his whole palate, this was a shock to the system and very stressful.

When she was discharged from hospital, she was not given much assistance or advice at all and this left her feeling helpless, although her family was very supportive, they too felt they did not know how to help. They were referred to go to TBH in the next week and with the help of her family and the support given they brought her to TBH.

At TBH she was given the expert assistance, the correct advice, the correct bottles and so the first 4 months was a big challenge and when she went to work a family member looked after him very well and she had peace of mind.


This Journey has not been an easy one, it has been tainted with so much trauma and challenges that they have faced as a family, but they have remained positive as they have so much to be thankful for. Going to school or finding the right play school was difficult he went to so many in a short space of time. He had Ear infections which was a huge setback and it had to be kept open and the schools were reluctant to take care of him in the correct manner and there were lots of complaints. By this time, he had already had operations and Dr’s advised there will still be more to come and they were thankful that he was able to get the necessary attention.

He went to Primary school at Wynland Primary school and he had lots of challenges as children made fun of him and how he speaks  teachers could not understand him clearly and this took a lot of work. As a family they encouraged him to either repeat himself or he must speak slower which helped a lot.

Peter- John despite the challenges , he managed to do so well at Primary school , he was the Deputy Head boy, choir members, he did drama, played hockey, dance class – they received a gold medal this past year , tug o war and he has become a mature , spontaneous and just an outgoing child ready to face the world and to face whatever comes his way.

The turning point in his success came when the Smile Foundation paid for 10 sessions with a speech therapist, and this was indeed an excellent way to assist them and especially given him the confidence and as parents to be rest assured that assistance it available and has made a difference for the acceptance of their son.


Peter- John has two older siblings a brother and sister, brother has just completed his tertiary education and sister is in Grade 11 at the same school with Peter- John and keeps an eye on him. They are very close and Mom and Dad has always played an active and present role in his life and this is ongoing as the support from the extended family has also been amazing over the years.


During the Smile Slate at TBH on 9/3/2023 Dr Liezl Du toit who was preparing to do a fistula repair had a good look at Peter- John and advised he has been through so much operations and he is a thriving young boy and maybe we can assist with another aspect namely: speech therapy and dental and orthodontics.

The family are eternally grateful for the Smile Foundation and the immense role that has been played in the life of them as a family and especially to Peter- John. The way they have been treated and cared for at Tygerberg all the spoils from the Smile foundation and always going the extra mile and for making such a huge difference.

Arrangements was made with Red Cross hospital and Ros Lentin and in turn she gave him some home work and tips and advised the dental work should be a priority as he has progressed so well thusfar. Arrangements was made at The Dental hospital at Tygerberg Hospital and the necessary X-rays was done with various consultations and he is ready for his next appointment on 1/2/2024 when he be fitted with braces and start yet another journey to wholeness and wellness and is eternally grateful that he has the privilege to be a Smile patient forever and ever and will always remember the Smile Foundation for changing his life and his Smile.

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