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

Whether you intend to invite your whole city to a competitive 5K at a busy public park or would just like to invite your close family and friends to do a stroller-friendly family fun walk through your own neighborhood – there is a Purple Polka Dot Race for everyone! Read more below about how YOU can raise awareness for vascular birthmarks and funds to support VBF’s mission by hosting a virtual run / walk event of your very own! All proceeds donated to VBF will go directly towards our mission of helping those affected by vascular birthmarks.

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 cause 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”!

Three 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’s family’s dedication to our shared mission and is profoundly grateful for all they’ve done for VBF and our entire birthmark community.

The Lee Family’s next goal is to have a virtual PPD Walk / Run in all 50 states to ensure that Meghana’s inspirational message of acceptance and hope is shared far and wide. VBF is here to support their family in turning that dream into a reality.

Purple Polka Dot Race

Campaign ends on December 31st, 2018

You can support the Lee Family’s race by making a donation here, or hosting a virtual PPD race of your own!

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 Lee at

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 virtual 5K.
  • Gather 3-5 reliable friends/family to help you throughout the race planning process.
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, 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?
  • Facility usage fee if needed
  • T-shirts
  • Mailing bags/postage
  • Post-5K refreshments
  • Timing company, if using one
How can I cover costs of the 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.

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? Raffle 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.

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 the race planning is going
  • Get people excited for your event!

For more information and updates about the Purple Polka Dot Race, e-mail Jody Lee at