Seven-year-old Jasper 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. Jasper is a happy little boy, but his young life began with instability.
Jasper and his twin sister were placed in foster care in April 2010, and they were later adopted by their loving and supportive foster family. Jasper and his sister were severely neglected and malnourished at the time they were placed with their new family. At nine months of age, Jasper was unable to roll over, sit up, crawl, or hold his bottle. Jasper was later placed in physical therapy, occupational therapy, developmental therapy, and speech therapy. He also underwent social emotional therapy because he had difficulty forging social and emotional bonds due to the trauma he experienced as an infant prior to his foster care placement.
Jasper's parents became concerned when his orthopedic specialist suggested that they consult with Jasper's primary doctor because his ears appeared asymmetrical with the left ear appearing lower than the right ear. Jasper's doctor suggested that he have an otoplasty, a surgical procedure to correct the alignment and protruding of his left ear. Unfortunately, his parents were informed that the insurance would not cover the surgery. Jasper's mother says, "When his insurance denied the surgery, we sought other ways to get him the surgery. When we asked the doctor what the cost would be, they would not even tell us. They told us it would be very expensive due to the hospital stay, the surgeon, and the anesthesiologist. We were discouraged but we did not give up hope that we would find a way to help our son."
As Jasper started to grow older and active in sports and other activities, he began to struggle with wearing glasses and goggles. He also became subjected to teasing by his peers. 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 Caring For Kids Foundation in a newsletter, Jasper's mother contacted the organization. Upon receiving Jasper's application and the completion of additional pre-operation requirements, Jasper was granted approval for surgery. Jasper underwent surgery on February 20, 2016 through Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation's free Surgery Weekend Program at The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital. Jasper received $30,692 worth of surgical services at no-cost to his family.
Fresh Start's no-cost specialty services provide children like Jasper with personalized and individualized care that often cannot be found at other healthcare organizations or state-funded programs. Many of the procedures performed are deemed as "cosmetic" by many health insurance companies and are not covered by insurance, as in Jasper's case. Such insurance coverage denials cause financial burdens to children like Jasper and their families.
Fresh Start is the only plastic surgery organization that provides organized care for children in the United States.
Long-term relationships are maintained with the children served. Even years after they have completed the Program, the children still receive follow-up evaluations and personalized care to ensure that they continue on a healthy path well into adulthood. Jasper's 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 children 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."