The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD President and Founder

Gracie Beth Scrushy, United States (US), Texas

I’m 16 and was born with a port wine stain that covers the majority of my right leg, and also my upper and lower back. Dr. Roy Geronemus performed my laser surgery, which began when I was three weeks old and continued until I was four. Once after treatment, teachers thought my bruising was perhaps a contagious disease, and they isolated me from the other children. When I reached junior high, I was bullied over my birthmark and realized that not everyone sees my appearance the way my parents see it: beautiful. My passion for dance has placed me in numerous situations where I have to explain my condition. When people stare, I can smile back and inform them about my birthmark and the symptoms related to it. I want to be able to spread awareness so we can stop the stares and help kids feel comfortable in their skin.