What an exciting summer it has been for families affected by a vascular birthmark! In May, many of you participated in our Vascular Birthmarks Month of Awareness, our May 15th Day of Awareness, and our “Put on Your Birthmark” campaign. Families from all over the world shared their photos and experiences … we are so thankful to all of you. The networking that came out of our 2017 Awareness activities sparked the idea for creation of the new “VBF Ambassador Program” that we will be launching in September. Our vision is for an exciting global network of individuals and families affected by a vascular birthmark who are all striving for uniform diagnosis and treatment standards and who are committed to raising awareness and supporting the mission and vision of VBF. Stay tuned for the exciting announcement in the next few weeks.
Earlier this summer The American Academy of Pediatrics published “Vascular Birthmarks in Infants: Importance of Treating the 10%,” an article that I wrote jointly with Dr. Thomas McInerny, AAP past president (2012-13), and Dr. Bernard Cohen, past chair of the AAP Section on Dermatology. Publication of this article by the Academy was the fulfillment of a personal mission that I’ve had for more than 20 years: recognition that babies born with a vascular birthmark need to be referred at the four-week well baby check up. Halleluiah! Another exciting venture with the Academy was my live participation with Dr. Cohen on May 17th during an AAP webinar entitled “Early Diagnosis and Intervention of Vascular Anomalies (Infantile Hemangioma and Malformations).”
On July 6-9, VBF’s newly-appointed Ambassador Scott Cupples, along with yours truly, attended the 13th World Congress of Pediatric Dermatology in Chicago. It was a terrific experience. Scott and I met many pediatric specialists from around the globe, attended several working sessions with other skin-related advocacy groups in order to share our best practices, and participated in lectures addressing the latest innovations in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular birthmarks. Plus, we were blown away by the VBF display booth that was created for us (see photo)!
Our VBF Facebook Live sessions continue to explode with viewer participation. Within 48 hours of our July 19th Live session with myself and Dr. Stuart Nelson our video had over 6,000 views. We also received many messages from families who are so thankful for this service that VBF provides, especially to the parents of newly diagnosed infants who are filled with unanswered questions.
VBF continues to strive to meet the needs of every family affected by a vascular birthmark. Remember, our annual conference is Saturday, October 6, 2018 in New York. I hope to see you there.