Thanks to the support of former Congressman John Sweeney (R-NY) more than ten years ago, May 15th is recognized as the Vascular Birthmarks Day of Awareness and May has become the Vascular Birthmarks Month of Awareness.
You may be asking, “What’s so important about having a month and a day of awareness?” The answer is “Everything!” The VBF Month and Day of Awareness campaign is about educating as many people as possible about vascular birthmarks. Not just telling them what they are, but also telling them what the treatment options are. It’s about education through social media, our website, and you!
While 40,000 babies are born each year that will have a vascular birthmark so significant they will need to see a specialist, most doctors are not trained to identify these anomalies and to properly refer the child or adult to the correct specialist. So, we have taken it upon ourselves to “get the word out.”
We have been working with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to educate physicians. An article I co-authored for AAP’s official newsmagazine was published earlier this month (read a copy on the AAP website). This article is the first time the AAP has publicly stated the babies need to be referred at the four-week well-baby check up if a vascular birthmark is still present, does not appear to be resolving, and has the potential to become disfiguring and/or problematic so that treatment can begin early! Home Run!!!
I will also be co-hosting a webinar on May 17th that all pediatricians will be able to access. In addition to these two huge educational milestones, our on-line course in vascular birthmarks and anomalies will be launched very soon!
All over the world, during May, people are hosting awareness events and doing fund raisers for VBF. Each event educates more and more people about what a vascular birthmark is and what the treatment options are. They allow people to share their personal stories. And they highlight the struggles of obtaining accurate information and the resources that become available once connected with VBF.