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It is the objective of Children's Corrective Surgery Society to provide free reconstructive surgeries to disfigured children worldwide. We are committed to showing love in action through the entire corrective surgery process. In the fulfillment of these objectives, CCSS ensures that no child is ever seen as a statistic or file number. Each patient receives all the love and personal attention possible.


There is healing that needs to occur in areas that doctors cannot reach with their surgical skills. Nearly all of these children come to us with deep emotional scars that need healing as well. CCSS staff and our many volunteers have gone above and beyond to make sure more than 16,000 children have returned home with memories of an outpouring of love and compassion.


CCSS does not only deal with birth defects. We are often presented with opportunities to relieve human suffering around the world, and we do all we can to respond, such as providing assistance for disaster relief in developing countries. CCSS also provides medical aid, such as speech therapy, medications, dental work, and other basic medical care to those in need.

It is also CCSS's goal to be the bridge for those in the medical and dental fields who have a desire to offer their gifted services to assist those in need. Through our combined efforts, we help children to live a normal life by removing the mask of deformity.

Our efforts in establishing surgical clinics throughout the world are ongoing. We believe all should be given a chance to live a normal life free from pain and ridicule. Many patients have expressed how corrective surgery has been the beginning of a new life for themselves and their families, restoring pride, dignity and hope, and it is a joy for CCSS to be a part of that transformation!

Children's Corrective Surgery Society (CCSS) was founded in 1972 by John Martin. During their mission trips to Mexico, John and his wife, Jean, were deeply moved upon witnessing a number of individuals suffering with the physical and emotional pain of their disfiguring birth defects that had been left uncorrected well into adulthood, as well as the horrific living conditions, especially those with cleft lips and cleft palates. Poverty and the lack of a qualified surgeon in their local area prevented children from living a normal life.

In most countries, facial disfigurements such as cleft lips or a cleft palates means a life of being shunned by those in their community. They are often ridiculed, tormented, and sometimes abandoned by one or both of their parents. Those fortunate enough to make it into adulthood live lonely lives of shame and seclusion. John Martin knew there must be a way to change this. Somehow, someone had to save these children.

At the time, John could not find any organizations conducting this type of field work. There were individuals building or repairing homes, groups building churches, others handing out food, and some setting up schools to teach the children a trade or help them obtain a job. No one was addressing the thousands of children born with deformities.

John felt overwhelming compassion for these individuals, which led him to act. One at a time, he would bring children to San Diego area hospitals in order to receive corrective surgery. In the beginning, these children stayed with John and his wife Jean at their home in San Diego. At times, these patients stayed for many months while doctors and other medical volunteers performed a series of surgical operations necessary to repair their deformities.

Upon forming the corrective surgery organization, John Martin originally chose the name "COAD International Field Programs" because of its Old English derivative "coadjutor", meaning "one that joins with others to help." COAD was later renamed Children's Corrective Surgery Society as a means for others to have a better understanding of the organization and the type of service provided.


John Martin passed away in late 2004, leaving his life-long passion for service to his son, Cliff Martin. Cliff continues to carry the torch, having a heart to change the lives of these children in need, giving them a restored hope for a future of endless possibilities!

John C. Martin (Cliff)

President and CEO

Lora Jean Martin

Consultant and Historian

Lloyd N. Combs


Donald E. Wyatt


Tanisha A. Harris, J.D.



John Knudsen
Carson M. Lewis, M.D.
Alicia Sigler, M.D.
George Root, ATTY
Ann Schaldach, CRNA
Frank Singer
Merton Suzuki, M.D.