Green Valley Shopping Centre recently donated R3000 to STEPS to further the work we do in treating children born with clubfoot in Southern Africa.

The centre hosted a Haunted House for Halloween, which included trick or treating throughout the centre. The entrance to the event was free but there were donation buckets where people could donate to STEPS is they wished to.

The generous donation was inspired by the Manelis family, whose son was born with clubfoot and who have been ongoing supporters of STEPS.

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Georgia Manelis tells her family’s story that inspired the generous donation:

Our little angel Pano, was born with bilateral club feet in 2012.

We had no idea while I was pregnant and were quite overwhelmed and caught completely off guard when our perfect little boy was born with not-so-perfect feet!

Dr Von Bornmann, who was at the Sandton Clinic at the time, and our Orthotist, Gavin, were amazing. Not only did they make sure that Pano had the best possible start, but they were also encouraging, caring and full of jokes – exactly what Vasili and I needed at the time.

Some days were a struggle – to find the right socks, to make sure he was comfortable, and that he wasn’t missing any milestones during the process. I convinced myself almost daily that I hadn’t put his shoes on correctly and that I would ruin his little feet forever (obviously a consequence of my overdramatic Greek culture).

When the drama subsided, I realised that I was raising a happy little guy who didn’t seem to mind his “special shoes” (as they were referred to in our home).

Our family and friends and even his young cousins all helped us along the way, participating in “down time” when his shoes had to go on, lying with him and carrying him at night when he wasn’t able to walk. Pano loves to run, walk, skip and show off his dance moves, and is excited to be part of his new soccer team.

And now with just over three months to go until his forth birthday, it’s all gone by so fast.

We are forever grateful to all the wonderful parents for sharing their special stories that have uplifted and inspired us along the way and especially to STEPS for being a platform to do so. Their stories of faith and courage have helped us every ‘step’ of the way.