March 2016 

Our Mission

The mission of Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation is to transform the lives of disadvantaged infants, children, and teens suffering from physical deformities caused by birth defects, accidents, abuse, or disease through the gift of reconstructive surgery and related healthcare services.
In This Issue
Surgery Weekend Recap - February 2016
Patient Spolight: Jasper
Volunteer Spolight: Elizabeth Hood, RN, MS, MBA, APN/CPNP
Surgery Weekend Recap
February 2016
On Saturday, February 20, 2016, Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation provided surgeries to four children during its sixth Surgery Weekend. Surgeries took place at The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital. The procedures were performed on three teenagers and one child.

The surgeries that were performed included two bilateral gynecomastia reduction liposuctions, one bilateral earlobe reconstruction, and one surgical correction of left ear deformity. We are very excited by the success of the surgeries. In addition, we are very grateful to our volunteer medical team, support staff, and the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital for the continuous support.

Special thanks to our food sponsors, Corner Bakery Cafe and Chipotle Mexican Grill. We greatly appreciate your generous participation and support. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationships with you both during future Surgery Weekends. 
Upcoming Surgery Weekend Date: 
May 14 - May 15, 2016
Patient Spotlight: Jasper
Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation  would like to introduce 6-year-old Jasper. He is a charismatic boy, who loves wearing bow ties, hats, suspenders, and fuzzy sticker mustaches. His hobbies include playing golf, soccer and learning about dinosaurs. His favorite dinosaur is the Stegosaurus.
As an infant, Jasper's parents noticed that his ears appeared asymmetrical with the left ear appearing lower than the right ear. This deformity caused great concern for his parents, so they consulted with his physician to determine its level of seriousness. His physician diagnosed his deformity as Left ear Deformity . Unfortunately, the families' insurance refused to cover the procedure to correct the deformity. As Jasper started to grow older and active in sports and other activities, he began to struggle with wearing glasses and goggles. After noticing how this deformity was impacting Jasper's life, his mother began researching organizations and foundations for assistance towards repair his deformity. After reading about Fresh Start in the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services newsletter, Jasper's mother contacted the organization. Upon receiving Jasper's application and the completion of additional pre-operation requirements, the family was granted approval and Jasper underwent surgery on February 20, 2016.
Jasper's family is very grateful for having the opportunity to work with Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation. His mother is optimistic that her family's story will offer hope to other parents who have been searching for assistance for their children who may suffer from deformities. His mother asserts, "I want to encourage all parents who are searching for help for their children not to give up hope, because there is help out there from people who truly care." She is confident that Fresh Start will be able to provide other kids like Jasper with a fresh start. She states, "Fresh Start could have a huge impact on children's lives with the generosity and kindness shown while helping children be the best they can be. " She continues, "I would like to say how thankful I am to all the volunteers, staff, nurses, and doctors at Fresh Start."
We at Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation are thrilled to have given Jasper a fresh start. We look forward to hearing about all of the exciting and fantastic activities in which Jasper will participate.

Volunteer Spotlight: Elizabeth Hood, RN, MS, APN/CPNP
Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation  is delighted to introduce Elizabeth Hood, RN, MS, MBA, APN/CPNP, as a member of our medical team. Currently, Hood serves as Clinical Section Administrator II of Pediatric Surgery at The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital. Since 2007, Hood has worked in pediatric surgery as an advanced practice nurse. She received training at Boston College and Loyola University Chicago. When she's not working, Hood enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking and reading.

In 2014, Hood was approached by the administration at The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital to work with Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation. Upon learning more about the mission of the organization, she became increasingly interested in lending her clinical expertise, along with other subspecialties towards assisting the organization. Her role is to examine patients prior to Surgery Weekend and to assist with post-operative care. Hood is very excited to work with the organization and encourages more physicians and medical professionals to become involved with Fresh Start. She asserts, "Please, please refer your patients to this service! The amount of resources and time dedicated to the care of patients and their families by this team is incredible, and I would love to see the program expand!" She continues, "The more patients we can help, the better!"
Although Hood will be leaving UCMC in April, Fresh Start is very grateful for her involvement with the organization. She offered a message for patient families and supporters. She states, "I've been so proud to be a member of this team and help care for these children." Her knowledge and expertise in the medical field is truly invaluable. We wish her the best of luck in her future professional endeavors.

Fresh Start Surgical Gifts (based in San Diego, California) has teamed up with The Plastic Surgery Foundation to create Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation in Chicago. The addition of the Chicago site is enabling the organization grow its patient base and outreach. Surgeries are performed three times per year at The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital.

Fresh Start Caring for Kids Foundation
c/o The Plastic Surgery Foundation
444 E. Algonquin Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
*Proud winner of the Make It Better Foundation 2015 Philanthropy Award - Health & Wellness
Thank You for your Interest in Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation!

We are very grateful to all of our generous donors, sponsors, and volunteers! All of the overhead and administrative expenses for Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation are covered by Fresh Start Surgical Gifts and The Plastic Surgery Foundation, so that 100% of every donation directly benefits the medical needs of our patients.


Please contact Utica J. Gray, PhD, Chicago Regional Director of Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation, at or (847) 513-3326 for more information about upcoming Surgery Weekends, to volunteer, or to make a donation. If you are interested in making a donation online, please use the Paypal "donate" button above.


With your help, we can continue to transform the lives of children and their families. Thanks again for your interest and support! 

Follow and "Like" Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation on Facebook and Twitter

Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation has a new website! Our new website ( is a fantastic resource for information about our medical services, applications for prospective patients, upcoming events and Surgery Weekend dates, and volunteer opportunities. We are very excited to share our website with you.


Please "like" us on Facebook (Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation) and follow us on Twitter (@FreshStartKids).

Save the Date!  

Upcoming Events

Please contact Utica J. Gray, PhD, Chicago Regional Director of Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation, at 

or (847) 513-3326 for more details about the event or to become a sponsor.

Surgery Weekend Dates

  • May 14-15, 2016
  • October 8-9, 2016 





Photography by Danny Diaz