The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation

Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD President and Founder

“No two the same– All beautiful.”1

This lovely little quote can be found in a children’s book that teaches how children are different and special, much like the snowflakes that fall from the winter sky. It is our differences that help radiate our beauty and make us stronger.

Our little superhero, Carson, just turned 3 years old and has already had 20 laser treatments for his “Port Wine Stain” birthmark (located on the right side of his face). These treatments keep the birthmark healthy and help to maintain the progress that has been made. As a baby, Carson had laser treatment once per month. No sooner did he heal, then he was back again for another round. We currently go every 3 months, but hope to continue to space out the treatments to 1 or 2 times per year. Carson will always have a need to go, as these birthmarks remain for life. Left untreated, the birthmark darkens in color, often becomes raised, and presents further physical complications (in additional to the emotional toll).

We made the decision to begin treating Carson’s birthmark when he was a tiny baby. While we remain confident in our decision, it is still an emotional journey. My heart breaks knowing how much Carson has already been through at this young age. And yet, he is a strong, courageous, and happy little boy. We love how his little light shines. Our hope is that Carson will remain confident in who he is and how God made him. As we watch Carson’s beautiful story unfold, we are all changed for the better. As a parent, you expect to teach your child all about the world. But he is the one who has taught us so much more about life. We hope it has a ripple effect into our community as we (1) raise money for VBF, and (2) work to educate others about birthmarks and treatment.

For the second year in a row, we chose to celebrate Carson’s birthday by asking for donations to VBF (and it coincides beautifully with VBF’s Day of Awareness). These fundraising campaigns brought in $1500 for this amazing organization who helps families like ours. I remember how overwhelmed I felt when we received our child’s diagnosis. We quickly realized that his life story would be different than we had envisioned. There was great comfort in discovering VBF and realizing we weren’t alone in our journey.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our family, friends, and church for the many ways that they have supported our family over the last 3 years.

We also want to thank Dr. Nelson and the staff at Beckman Laser Institute (UC Irvine) for the difference you have made in our lives. We appreciate your expertise, support, and high standard of care. We will be forever grateful for you.