Valeria, a Fresh Start Surgical Gifts patient. Photo credit: Courtesy, Fresh Start

Rady Childrens’ Hospital will partner with a nonprofit to donate $600,000 of medical care to 20 children, and other types of care to another 45 youngsters.

Fresh Start Surgical Gifts has declared Sept. 11-12 “Surgery Weekend” and will provide medical services, dental and orthodontic care, laser treatments and speech therapy to the chosen children.

Based in San Diego County, the charity provides comprehensive reconstructive surgery for infants, children and teenagers at no cost.

Surgeons and their staffs volunteer their time, while patients and their parents stay with host families, at partner hotels or the Ronald McDonald House.

“Unlike the other medical charities that are out there which go out of country to provide care for kids, Fresh Start is one of the only ones that actually bring patients to the U.S.,” said Dr. Salvatore J. Pacella, a volunteer surgeon at Fresh Start, in a news release. “And the kids stay as long as they need to.”

According to Fresh Start, one child receiving care is Valeria, 2, who was born with Apert Syndrome, a condition that causes craniofacial issues. The condition is defined by an abnormal head shape and fusion of the fingers and toes.

Since May 2019, Valeria has been under the care of two surgeons, and has undergone a pair of cranial surgeries and a syndactyly operation for her fingers and toes. While the procedures would cost nearly a half-million dollars, her family won’t have to worry about a bill.

“Before I learned about Fresh Start, I felt I was drowning because I could not help my daughter,” said Valeria’s mother. “After, I felt like I could breathe again. I am very grateful to God for Fresh Start – we are so blessed.”

Fresh Start has provided almost $52 million in medical care to 8,527 children since its founding in 1991, a spokeswoman said.

– City News Service

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