Riding with a purpose to support burn patients

Seven cyclists sponsored by Smith & Nephew  “rode with a purpose” in the Highveld Stereo charity cycle challenge in Johannesburg on Sunday 18th November 2012. Their purpose was to reduce the emotional and economic cost of care of children with burn injuries by raising funds for the Paediatric Burns Unit at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

Smith & Nephew Advanced Wound Management staff: Gloria de Wee, Jeanine Beneke, Andy Zoepke, Collette Underhay and Grant Gibbs with young Bara Paediatric Burns patient, Hope Thobagale


Dr Dave Kloeck, paediatric specialist and one of the team of intensivists and surgeons at the Baragwanath Paediatric Burns Unit said that every year they treat some 400 children from Soweto and surrounding areas where many of their families live in abject poverty. The dream of the health care professionals who work with the young burns patients is to make sure they each have a pair of pyjamas, colourful blankets and opportunities for play to distract them from their pain and provide a nurturing environment to help speed healing. He said that support from Smith & Nephew was helping to achieve this vision and the cash raised through cycling sponsorships would be put towards the costs of building a separate theatre for treating paediatric burn patients. 

“Our biggest threat in burn management is the risk of infection”, Kloeck said. “Currently we share an operating theatre where adult burn patients are also treated and that is not optimal for infection management. The cost for a separate theatre for our paediatric burns unit will run to around four hundred thousand rand, so every bit of corporate social investment gets us one step closer to better outcomes for our young patients.”  


Lurlene Battrick, Divisional Head: Advanced Wound Management said

“Helping people get back to everyday activities is at the heart of what we do here at Smith & Nephew and we have prioritised training and support to the Baragwanath Paediatric Burns Unit.”

Battrick said that burns are a common and significant cause of child mortality in South Africa. The treatment of burns is regarded as among the most resource intensive of all trauma care, and burn trauma contributes significantly to in-patient length of stay and the large resultant overall cost of treating these patients. “We help clinicians deliver the best possible care by bringing innovative technology to burn management and combining it with a deep understanding of best-practice techniques for the healing of burn wounds,” she said.


Lesley Schroeder-McLean:Fuller Insight
Communication Consultants to Smith & Nephew, Africa Region
T: +27 (0)21 7888 345 | M: +27 (0)83652 1164 | E:lesleyfi@mweb.co.za

Dr Dave Kloek
Consulting Paediatrician
Paediatric Burns Unit, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

Heartwarming update to this story:

After successfully completing the 2012 Momentum 94.7 Cycle for a Purpose Challenge, Smith and Nephew's Clinicial Manager, Andy Zoepke read that early bird entrants for the 2013 Cycle Challenge were invited to motivate why they are riding for a purpose and if their motivation was drawn, they could be the fortunate recipient of R50 000 cash for their chosen purpose or charity.

Andy's motivation made the short list and was selected for the R50 000 cash prize which he has given to the Paediatric Burns Unit at Baragwanath Hospital.  

Andy Zoepke riding with a purpose

Andy crossing the finishing line at the 2012 event