University Health and Fresh Start Surgical Gifts mark first anniversary providing free surgeries for children with upcoming Surgery Weekend

University Health and Fresh Start Surgical Gifts will celebrate one year of teaming up to provide life-changing surgeries for children with the fourth Fresh Start Surgery Weekend on Saturday, June 29. During the inaugural year, the duo performed 12 surgeries to correct and repair cleft palates, extra toes, misshapen ears, hernias and other conditions. Building on this early success, we are adding a third surgery this year and hope to get the word out so that we can help many more children.

The surgeries and related medical care are all provided free of charge to the patients and their families who qualify. The physicians and clinical staff volunteer their time, University Health provides the medical space and Fresh Start coordinates with families and covers the extra costs to get the patient to the hospital for care. Surgery would not be possible without the people who donate their time to help disadvantaged children.

We invite you to meet our staff responsible for these heart-warming transformations, with media availability on Thursday or day-of interviews on Saturday.

Fresh start surgical gift pediatric patient.

A hospital procedure can be scary, especially for young patients who may not fully understand what is happening. “I help comfort and support patients and families on their day of surgery,” said Nayeli Longoria, a child life specialist with University Health. “Sometimes you will see me with an anesthesia mask that the patient can put on themselves or their stuffed animals in a medical play session. And sometimes you will see me holding a bubble maker, running down the hallway with the patients as they are wheeled into surgery.”

Dr. Christian Stallworth has spent considerable time traveling abroad to perform congenital facial and facial trauma surgery for patients in Peru and Guatemala. “As much as I have loved and will continue to serve on these teams abroad, I also recognized the very real need right here in the United States and South Texas,” said Stallworth, facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon with University Health and clinical associate professor with UT Health San Antonio.

“Giving back in this way is one of the main reasons I become a surgeon in the first place,” Stallworth said.

Giving back is also important to Tim Brown, former NFL player with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Las Vegas Raiders, Heisman Trophy winner, Hall of Famer and Fresh Start fan.

“Over the last 30 years, Sherice and I have witnessed the miraculous work Fresh Start is doing. We look forward to doing our part to help continue the incredible work,” said Brown.

Brown will be at University Health Women’s & Children’s Hospital on Saturday to cheer on the Fresh Start and University Health volunteer teams.

Longoria and Stallworth are available for interviews on Thursday, June 27 from 2-3 p.m. Brown will be available for interviews on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the University Health Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Learn more about Fresh Start Surgical Gifts or apply today. Interested families can also email us at with any questions.


University Health is the only locally owned health system in San Antonio. For more than 100 years, University Health has been here to heal, improve health, train the next generation of medical professionals and 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 X and Facebook.


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

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