The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation

Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD President and Founder

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Join the 2020 VIRTUAL VBF Walk / Run by Signing Up for the 5th Annual Purple Polka Dot Race Today!

The Purple Polka Dot Race is VBF’s signature Walk / Run event, now in its 5th year! Jody Lee founded the Purple Polka Dot Race in 2015 to honor her daughter, Meghana, who was born with a port-wine stain birthmark. Five years later, the annual PPD run has a HUGE following of dedicated supporters – both virtual and in-person. Today, the race is one of the largest and most successful national events held to raise awareness and funds for VBF’s mission.

This year the 5th Annual Purple Polka Dot Race has gone VIRTUAL and will be on August 9, 2020. This year, the Lee Family is inviting YOU to participate in the Virtual Purple Polka Dot Race to ensure that Meghana’s inspirational message of acceptance and hope for those will all kinds of vascular birthmarks, anomalies and syndromes is shared far and wide, all while social distancing. 

Click here to learn more, register as a virtual or in-person participant, or to start your virtual team today! 

Every virtual race participant will get a swag bag and T-shirt to rock on the day of the race from anywhere in the world.  To coincide with the PPD Race month this year, we’ll be launching the first-ever Purple Polka Dot Month of Awareness this August. Get ready to rock your purple polka dots and virtual race swag on August 9 – and all August – as we raise awareness for vascular birthmarks along with the VBF Purple Polka Dot Race Family.

Read more below about how YOU can raise awareness for vascular birthmarks by joining the 2020 Virtual PPD Race, planning your own walk/run, or supporting the Purple Polka Dot Race itself. All proceeds donated to VBF will go directly towards our mission of helping those affected by vascular birthmarks.


How do I register as a virtual racer?

Register as a Virtual PPDR Race Participant here. Share the registration link with your family and friends to ask them to join the Purple Polka Dot Team to raise awareness for all types of vascular birthmarks, anomalies, and syndromes.

How do I create a PPD Team fundraising page?

When signing up for the PPDR, you can establish a Virtual Purple Polka Dot Race Team. Follow the instructions when registering as a virtual racer to form a team, including creating a team name, adding photos, and sharing your birthmark story. Then, share your customized team page with your network to ask for team members and contributions to your fundraising goal.

The PPDR team that raises the most funds for VBF’s mission will receive special gift incentives after the race and all virtual team members who sign up will receive SWAG bags to raise awareness locally. Virtual teams can also meet up informally in their localities on the day of the race to honor a loved one, raise awareness and join in on the fun from afar!

What if I don’t have a PPDR team?

Want to join in on the fun of friendly competition? There are two PPDR teams competing to raise the most funds and awareness for VBF this year – the VBF Board / Staff Team and the VBF Global Ambassador Team. When signing up as a virtual runner,  you are welcomed and encouraged to select either the Board / Staff or Ambassador Team to join in on the fun. Hint: Join the Board / Staff team to help us BEAT SCOTT, our VBF Global Ambassador Program Manager (that’s him with the mustache ! ! ! )

What are the perks of being a virtual runner?

Every virtual race participant who registers early will be mailed an official PPDR SWAG BAG, which includes an awesome 2020 PPDR T-Shirt and other goodies you can rock on the day of the race from anywhere in the world to raise awareness and show your support for individuals and families with all kinds of vascular birthmarks, anomalies, and syndromes.

I need help creating a page or have questions; who can I contact?

Email Kristin at to request a PPD Team Page or with any questions about team fundraising. We’re here to help! For more information and updates about the Purple Polka Dot Race or to become a sponsor, please visit the Lee family’s website at or e-mail Jody at


Host a Purple Polka Dot Race

We’re thrilled that you are interested in hosting your own Purple Polka Dot VBF Walk / Run to raise awareness for vascular birthmarks and funds to support our non-profit mission. Out of an abundance of caution due to COVID-19, all in-person VBF Run / Walk events for 2020 are temporarily on hold. We expect the 5th Annual Purple Polka Dot Race to continue as scheduled and are keeping guests apprised of all the latest updates and recommendations. If you’re interested in organizing your own VBF Walk / Run, this year we encourage you to consider creating a VIRTUAL PPDR TEAM or contacting Kristin or Jody to connect by emailing Kristin at We’d love to partner with you!

Here’s some info for planning a Walk / Run for better days:

What are the mission and goals of the Purple Polka Dot Race?

  • Raise awareness and promote acceptance for those who have vascular birthmarks.
  • Educate your community on the medical/emotional complications that may arise.
  • State your stance on anti-bullying and the need to ask appropriate questions and accept the response without judgment.
  • Fundraise at least $500 for the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation to sponsor a Family to attend our annual Conference & Clinics, where they will receive free lodging, meals, admission to our conference lectures, and clinical appointments.

When should I start planning?

  • Planning should start at least 4-6 months before you plan on hosting your 5K.
  • Gather 3-5 reliable friends/family to help you throughout the race planning process.
  • You can even set up a race planning committee to divide responsibilities.

How should I choose a location?

Pick a location that is convenient and accessible for your audience. Some factors to consider in choosing a location include facility use cost, the proximity of the nearest restrooms, parking, and safety for children present. Be sure to ask if your facility will waive any usage fees since you’ll be raising funds for a non-profit.

Some options include:

  • Local parks
  • Schools
  • Even your own neighborhood!
*Note that insurance may be required for your race location. If insurance is needed, please contact the VBF for assistance.

What are some of the costs associated with hosting a race?

  • Registration, which includes your PPDR swag bag
  • Any additonal supplies you may need for virtual event

How can I cover the any additional costs of your virtual event itself?

Sponsorships are a great way to ensure coverage of event carrying costs, including facility rental fees. You can contact international, national or local sponsors to assist with costs related to hosting your virtual 5K walk/run. Contact at least 10-15 sponsors well in advance of your race. There is a possibility to even get your sponsors to participate in the event!

Some possible sponsors include:

  • Gyms/Fitness studios
  • Grocery stores
  • Banks/Credit Unions
  • Insurance companies
  • Family friends
  • Family businesses
  • Restaurants
  • Daycare centers
  • Physician offices
  • Dermatology offices

Think of any item you use at home and contact the company!!

Note: Use the sponsor packet for the Purple Polka Dot Race as needed (with changes to incorporate your story and the details of your event).

What are some other ways I can raise funds for VBF during the event?


Consider a raffle as another way to raise money for the families of the VBF. Raffle items can include both goods and services.

*Note that some sponsors will not give money but will offer a raffle item instead.

VBF Personal Fundraising Page

Contact VBF to set up your personal fundraising page. We can customize your fundraising page with photos, stories, and details about your event. Those who wish to support your event, but cannot attend in person, can make a gift to VBF through this page. We can also work with you to process event registrations throughout the website.

VBF Facebook Awareness Page

Create a Facebook awareness page (Purple Polka Dot Race will help you with this). Facebook is a great way to get the word out about your event.

  • Invite family/friends to join your page
  • Update your page with your story
  • Provide updates on how your race planning is going
  • Get people excited about your event!

About the Purple Polka Dot Race

What is the Purple Polka Dot Race & how was it founded?

The Lee Family founded the Purple Polka Dot Race (PPDR) in 2015 to honor their daughter Meghana who was born with 10 fingers, 10 toes and a special birthmark on her cheek and chin that they later found out was a port wine stain (PWS). VBF was there to provide the Lee Family not only with answers to some of their questions but also with a sense of community and support system unlike any other. Their sweet and sassy 3-year old receives laser treatments for her PWS, which causes her to have temporary purple polka dots on her face. Their mission is to raise awareness and encourage acceptance for all those out there who are also sporting their very own “purple polka dots”!

Five years later, the annual PPD run at Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township, Michigan has a HUGE following of dedicated supporters – both virtual and in-person and has transformed into one of the largest and most successful national events held to raise awareness and funds for VBF. VBF is inspired by the Lee family’s dedication to our shared mission and is profoundly grateful for all they’ve done for VBF and our entire birthmark community. We’d love for you to join this years virtual PPDR Family’s 5th Annual Walk / Run today!

Photo Gallery


August 1, 2020
August 31, 2020