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

Today I would like to talk about a serious matter, BULLYING.

From the bus stop to the playground it seems to surround us like the air we breathe. The impact children have on one another goes far deeper than the eye can see and it all starts with one word.

As a child I can remember the usual situations like “what happened?”, “what’s on your face?” But that’s not even scratching the surface. I remember like it was yesterday. The swollen lip and the black eye because another kid didn’t like the way I looked. Was that the real reason though? I’ve come to think over the years that a bully does not bully because of how you and I may look, but not understanding how and why we look different.

They are more afraid of us than we are of them. I developed a defense that would immediately beat them to it! I would say something about my birthmark before they could. Making them uncomfortable or embarrassed as others looked at them the way they looked at me. Today there’s no escaping like there was back then, mostly because of social media.

That will not stop us from spreading awareness and building with one another. Stand up for one another or help dissolve a situation.
Accepting who you are before accepting your Birthmark helps more than you know. I will not hear the word FREAK even though they said it. I will not hear the word UGLY even though they yelled it. I will not read the word LOSER even though they wrote it. I will hear the word LOVE because I spread it. I will hear the word BRAVE because I feel it. I will read the word PROUD because I wrote it.

I am Port Wine & Proud.

This piece was submitted by Eric Pixley, a VBF Global Ambassador who is founder of Port Wine & Proud.

WHAT NEXT?