"They told us he had severe facial deformities and he just had one eye and ear and a cleft palate, he had holes in his heart, they couldn't find his stomach."
Santhosh Mathews is talking about his oldest son Phillip who is about to turn 17 and has undergone more than 20 surgeries and still has more to go.
During this journey Santhosh and his wife Susan started to find out there were other children like Phillip. So nearly ten years ago they founded the non profit Love Without Reason to help children around the world suffering from facial deformities.
Thanks to a team of doctors from India, they've performed more than 300 surgeries on children with cleft palates.
We caught up with them as they were packing supplies, getting ready for their mission trip to Zimbabwe where there is reportedly a 5 year backlog for cleft surgeries.
Santhosh Mathews says "For now we wanted to go into Zimbabwe and do 60 surgeries in 60 days."
On a mission to do more than just correct what's visible to the eye, but also give hope and healing to families.
Susan Mathews, Love Without Reason says "It's been a dream to do that and to see that actually come to place, it's unbelievable."
Sadly Mathews says because of a lack of access to medical care, these kids are seen as outcasts with a stigma attached.
Phillip knows he could have been one of those children, which is why these trips mean so much to him.
Phillip Matthews, Love Without Reason says "I'm looking forward to talking to the parents in Zimbabwe and encouraging them."
Phillip says he is also looking to holding some of the babies.
Phillip who has beat a lot of odds, still has more surgeries ahead, but stays positive about his future.
Phillip Mathews says "I want to go to CUT and maybe stay in a dorm and go back home when I need to."
In the meantime, the Mathews family plans to continue trying to bring smiles and hope to the faces of children and families with facial deformities.
Phillip will have another surgery in July after they return from Zimbabwe, then the family plans to return to Africa with their team in October to perform more surgeries.