The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation

Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD President and Founder

Aparna N, United States (US), New Jersey

“What’s that on your face? Is that chocolate on your cheek?” These are questions I have been inundated with throughout my life. I was born with a congenital nevus on my cheek. There were times I was ashamed of my condition, asking myself “why me?” As I grew older, I started asking complex questions about my birthmark that people could not answer. “Could a genetic mutation cause congenital nevi?”

I have always had an interest in science, but it is my experience of having a nevus that fueled my passion for helping others. The doctors who treated me further sparked my passion, converting complex science into a digestible form. Their patience with me never faltered, despite the wave of questions coming their way. My dermatologist told me, “Do not worry about what people say and go make your mark on this world.” It took time for me to accept that my birthmark is what makes me unique. I now understand that outward appearance does not define my self-worth, and inner beauty is what truly matters. My condition allowed me to empathize with patients and introduced me to the wonderful VBF community. I remember attending the VBF conference at Lenox Hill years ago and being so inspired. I want to use my voice to help spread awareness about vascular birthmarks.