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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Fresh Start Surgical Gifts

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Surgical Specialties


Fresh Start Surgical Gifts transforms the lives of disadvantaged children and young people with physical deformities caused by birth defects, accidents, abuse, or disease through the gift of reconstructive surgery and related health care services. Our vision is to build a community of volunteers committed to seeing that every child with a physical deformity is given the opportunity to have a positive self-image, thereby enriching the lives of both the receiver and giver.

Results: Since our inception in 1991 Fresh Start Surgical Gifts has provided over $30,000,000 worth of donated medical care to over 7,000 children.

Target demographics: children and teens suffering from physical deformities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 408 children and teens were served through 1,175 treatments

Geographic areas served: United States and International

Programs: Surgery Weekends provide free reconstructive plastic surgery and related medical services to disadvantaged children and young people with physical deformities. Fresh Start hosts six to seven Surgery Weekends a year where some of the most knowledgeable experts in reconstructive surgery donate their time to transform the lives of over 500 children with deformities. Services are provided at the Fresh Start Clinic at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego to children from the US and internationally by an all-volunteer team of surgeons and medical professionals. Some of the conditions treated include: Microtia, Hemangioma, Neurofibromatosis, Hairy Nevus, Cleft lip and Cleft palate, Treacher Collins Syndrome, Portwine Stains, and Hemifacial Microsomia. In our continued effort to offer holistic care to every child we serve, our Surgery Weekends also include a Laser Clinic and speech therapy.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Fresh Start Surgical Gifts is a wonderful organization that truly gives kids a fresh start in life. The love and caring a child or teen receives from the time they enter into the program is unmatched. All medical expertise and surgical care is provided by world class medical professionals and support staff completely pro-bono. During my time with Fresh Start I saw kids that would not make eye contact or smile become self-assured, confident young men and women. Most heartwarming is that many of the Fresh Start patients I knew as kids now come back as college students and adults to volunteer – that’s the highest praise an organization can receive.

There is never any cost to the family and Fresh Start patients stay in the program until the best possible outcome is achieved.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Volunteering for FRESH START has given me the Gift of love. Over the past two years I have seen mothers weep, families elated with joy, over the transformation in their childs life. To be a volunteer makes my life richer.