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Fresh Start Surgical Gifts Transforms Lives of Pediatric Patients During Inaugural Surgery Weekend with University Health in San Antonio - Charities for Children, Organizations to Help Children

Fresh Start Surgical Gifts Transforms Lives of Pediatric Patients During Inaugural Surgery Weekend with University Health in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – July 26, 2023 —National nonprofit, Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, in collaboration with University Health San Antonio, transformed the lives of four children during their inaugural Surgery Weekend last month on Saturday, June 24. Fresh Start was able to fulfill their mission of delivering reconstructive surgeries to pediatric patients and offered many children in need the opportunity to receive essential medical care and experience life-changing surgeries.

Fresh Start Surgical Gifts transforms the lives of disadvantaged infants, children and teens with physical and cosmetic deformities by providing reconstructive and plastic surgery at no cost to patients or their families. World-renowned surgeons donate their time and expertise to offer them the medical care they need, and a fresh start in life. The national nonprofit expanded to San Antonio, Texas this year, partnering with University Health, to help an ever-growing need for medical care for children who are underserved.

“With hearts full of joy and excitement, we’re so proud to achieve our mission of delivering reconstructive surgeries to children, granting them the precious gift of essential medical care and life-changing transformations,” says Shari Brasher, Chief Executive Officer of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts. “This journey would not have been possible without the unwavering support and dedication of our amazing team, partners, and volunteers. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to each and every person who contributed to making this event a resounding success.”

Dr. Ian Mitchell, Chief of pediatrics for University Health San Antonio, emphasized the significance of this initiative by stating, “Fresh Start’s Surgery Weekend provides these deserving children with the care and life-changing surgeries they need.” Dr. Mitchell’s leadership and the commitment of the clinical staff ensured the success of this special event.

The medical team, comprising talented professionals, selflessly donated their time and expertise to treat these young patients. Their unwavering dedication exemplifies the healthcare experts’ readiness to offer high-quality and compassionate medical care to children in our community and beyond.

During the Surgery Weekend, the medical team successfully treated several patients with diverse conditions:

  • Camilo, 16 months old, from Costa Rica, received surgery for cleft lip and palate.
  • Emiliano, 18 months old, also from Costa Rica, underwent surgery for syndactyly (webbed toes).
  • Delilah, 8 years old, hailing from the Houston area, had a skin tag on her ear expertly addressed.
  • Sergio, 14 years old, from San Antonio, received surgery for a hernia.

Cases can include surgeries like cleft lip and palate, eye and soft tissue surgeries, laser procedures for scarring or skin conditions, such as port wine stains and birthmarks, and even interventional radiology procedures for vascular malformations.

The organization is committed to each child and promises to them for as many years, surgeries and/or treatments as it takes until the best possible outcome is reached. Some children have been patients for several years with the organization and have never received a bill for any medical care or travel. Each case is unique and transforms the life of each child in a magnitude of ways.

Since 1991, Fresh Start Surgical Gifts has helped 8,900 children and has expanded into multiple regions throughout the U.S., headquartered in San Diego, with locations in Chicago and San Antonio. The organization has also partnered with Sanford Health, a healthcare system that is the only children’s hospital in South Dakota with one goal of making screenings, healthcare and treatments available and accessible for as many children as possible. Fresh Start Surgical Gifts remains committed to helping improve the lives of children and families across the U.S., partnering with organizations like University Health that share their mission and vision.

The next Surgery Weekend at University Health is scheduled for October. Families interested in applying for this life-changing opportunity can visit the Fresh Start Surgical Gifts website at for more information. For more information on Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, or media inquiries, contact


Fresh Start Surgical Gifts transforms the lives of disadvantaged infants, children and teens who have physical and cosmetic deformities through their gift of reconstructive surgery. Providing reconstructive, plastic and neurosurgeries for children across the U.S., Fresh Start’s commitment to children extends far beyond medical care. The organization ensures their children will leave feeling more empowered than before. Every child receives the highest quality medical care and the families never see a bill for the services provided. 100% of contributions go directly to medical programs. To learn more, visit


University Health is the only locally owned health system in San Antonio. For more than 100 years, University Health has been here to heal, to improve health, to train the next generation of medical professionals and to ensure the people of San Antonio, Bexar County and South Texas have access to primary and advanced specialty care close to home. Specialized services include the region’s only Level I trauma center for both adults and children, and maternal and neonatal intensive care centers designated at the highest levels by the State of Texas. As the region’s only academic health system, University Health is a hub of innovation and discovery, committed to delivering patient-centered, culturally competent, high quality and compassionate care, based on a strong foundation of outcomes‐based research and innovative teaching. Learn more at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.