Fresh Start Surgical Gifts surpasses $50 million in donated medical care


A young patient hugs Fresh Start volunteer Dr. Steven Cohen. (Fresh Start courtesy photo)

News Release

Carlsbad-based Fresh Start Surgical Gifts has surpassed $50 million in donated medical care to its patients, offering life-changing reconstructive surgeries and related treatments to children in need throughout the U.S., at absolutely no cost to their families.

As of Dec. 31, 2021, Fresh Start has cared for 8,621 patients, offering 22,198 surgeries, with $53,325,191 in donated medical care from both their San Diego and Chicago-based clinics. Medical services are donated by doctors, clinicians, dentists and other medical professionals who tirelessly dedicate their days off to help children in need and change their lives.

North Coast Link logo.Since 1991, Fresh Start Surgical Gifts has been dedicated to transforming the lives of disadvantaged youth with physical deformities by providing comprehensive reconstructive surgery at no cost to the patient and their family. Children receive care at Rady Children’s Hospital, one of the top children’s hospitals in the nation through a longstanding partnership. To further their efforts, Chicago-based Fresh Start Caring for Kids Foundation launched in 2014, as a joint venture between Fresh Start Surgical Gifts and The Plastic Surgery Foundation, in partnership with The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital.

All the medical professionals generously donate their time and talent to deliver much-needed highly specialized reconstructive plastic surgery and related treatments. Every child receives the highest quality medical care, and the families never see a bill for the services provided. All donations and grant funding are put to the highest use and each dollar donated enables Fresh Start to provide five dollars in medical care. One hundred percent of contributions go directly to medical programs.

“We owe our success entirely to our volunteer medical team who get up at dawn on a weekend with a smile on their face and the willingness to make a child’s dream of a normal appearance come true on their day off,” says Shari Brasher, CEO of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts. “We couldn’t do this without any of our incredible volunteers and donors who offer tremendous support.”

Fresh Start is proud to share that many, many volunteers have been with the program for over 20 years and some dating back to our start in 1991 like Steven Cohen, M.D., an internationally recognized, board-certified plastic surgeon, considered one of the best plastic surgeons in America.

“I’m incredibly humbled and proud to work with such an amazing organization that works tirelessly to change lives for children across the nation. It’s so rewarding to work with these children, many for several years, and to see their transformations is remarkable,” says Dr. Steven Cohen.

Fresh Start aspires to be the go-to organization for a child or teen that needs plastic or reconstructive surgery and is without resources. Committed to removing barriers to accessing high-quality medical care, the organization’s mission extends beyond just one surgery or treatment needed. The doctor each patient starts with is the doctor they will finish with, no matter how many surgeries they need or how long it takes. Translation services make it possible to care for patients in any language, with many medical team and staff members fluent in Spanish.

For more information on Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, please visit

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