Jordan Beicke, United States (US), New York

My name is Jordan Beicke and I’m 16 years old. I was born with a lower lip hemangioma. From a young age, I knew that I was different because of the harsh stares and comments I received from other kids. Although my family tried to shield me from the emotional damage since I was a sensitive child, I still suffered from bullying and I was made to feel like I didn’t belong. I’ve had multiple procedures to remove my birthmark and attempt to make both sides of my lip look as identical as possible. While this has succeeded tremendously, I no longer look at this as being my only indicator of success. I don’t feel defined by my difference anymore because of amazing support groups like this one that spread messages of inclusiveness and uniqueness. I’ve learned to become more comfortable in social situations and I’m not scared to tell people about my struggles anymore. I want to spread the message that people can suffer emotional trauma from feeling isolated even if a physical abnormality is relatively small, and that stopping this and supporting those individuals is important.