The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation
Updates from Dr. Linda
Dr. Linda – 2017 in Review
VBF has had a very exciting year. After 20 years, I was finally able to have a major breakthrough with the American Academy of Pediatrics. An article I wrote was published in their monthly Pediatric News Magazine (with co-authors from the AAP), I co-hosted a webinar with AAP expert Dr. Buddy Cohen; and, I was able to convince the AAP to support our “May is Vascular Birthmarks Awareness Month” campaign.
I launched VBF Facebook Live in January. I hosted the first session alone to introduce the concept and see if there would be interest. We have had 9 sessions this year, each one with myself and a medical expert, and have reached over 85,000 viewers (from all 9 sessions). They have been a resounding success, and I plan to continue them in 2018.
Our May is Vascular Birthmarks Awareness Month was tremendous. Thousands of families from all over the world put a red heart on their face and promoted awareness.
We had some very successful fund raisers this year, like the Purple Polka Dot Race, the Catalanotto annual golf event, the Muscarella Italian Night and other events held to raise awareness and funds for VBF. Also, this was our first year to have 2 international events, and they were hugely successful !!! We are so thankful to our supporters.
This year we launched our global VBF Ambassador Program. This is our international networking outreach where we hope to have a VBF Ambassador in each country. They will help spread the word about treatment, promote awareness, and be a global resource for other affected families. We also launched the first ever on-line program in vascular anomalies. This program is available to physicians around the world. We will be promoting and developing this program further in 2018. We also revised our Anti-Bullying program for individuals living with a vascular birthmark. More to come in 2018.
I attended several medical conferences this year, learning new things about vascular birthmarks, so that VBF is always current. Our 2017 Annual VBF Conference, held in California, was amazing. We had nearly 300 in attendance, over 20 fantastic lectures, 140 clinic appointments and 50 free conference scholarships awarded.
What’s coming for 2018? Full steam ahead for VBF!!! We will be marketing our on-line program, expanding our Ambassador program, our VBF Anti-bullying Program, and our VBF Facebook Live sessions. We will be going to Italy for a VBF iTEAM conference in June and our annual VBF Conference will be back in NYC on October 6th.
Stay tuned. If you are reading this, join us. Become an Ambassador or a Parent Rep. Maybe you want to host an event? Attend our conference? Share information with physicians in your region? We have many opportunities where you can join us to make a difference in the lives of families all over the world who are affected by a vascular birthmark.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may God Bless you and your family.
Dr. Linda, VBF President and Founder
VBF Ends 2017 With Major Milestones
December 6, 2017
2017 has been the most amazing year in VBF history and it would not have been possible without your support. Just look at what we accomplished:
- VBF exceeded well over 100,000 children and adults that were successfully networked into treatment since our establishment in 1994. That’s 10,000 in one year !
An exciting summer for families affected by a vascular birthmark!
July 21, 2017
What an exciting summer it has been for families affected by a vascular birthmark! In May, many of you participated in our Vascular Birthmarks Month of Awareness, our May 15th Day of Awareness, and our “Put on Your Birthmark” campaign. Families from all over the world shared their photos and experiences … we are so thankful to all of you. The networking that came out of our 2017 Awareness activities sparked the idea for creation of the new “VBF Ambassador Program” that we will be launching in September. Our vision is for an exciting global network of individuals and families affected by a vascular birthmark who are all striving for uniform diagnosis and treatment standards and who are committed to raising awareness and supporting the mission and vision of VBF. Stay tuned for the exciting announcement in the next few weeks.
May is Vascular Birthmarks Awareness Month
May 10, 2017
It’s the best month of the year!
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!
Laser Therapy for Treating Port Wine Stains and Infantile Hemangiomas
March 5, 2017
Our next VBF Facebook Live sessions will focus on using lasers to treat Infantile Hemangiomas and Port Wine Stains. Two of the world's leading experts in this field, Dr. Stuart Nelson and Dr. Roy Geronemus, will be co-hosting the sessions with me to share critical information for families affected by these vascular birthmark types.
On March 5th, Dr. Nelson will explain why he prefers to treat patients early (as young as one month of age) and while under anesthesia. On March 31st, Dr. Geronemus will share his preference for early treatment (as soon as the birthmark appears on a baby, even just after birth) but explain why he prefers not to use anesthesia.
Treating Hemangiomas: When to treat, when not to treat
February 13, 2017
In this month’s post I will address some of the confusion regarding treatment of Infantile Hemangiomas (commonly called “hemangiomas”).
One in ten children are born with a vascular birthmark, most being a hemangioma. Ninety percent (90%) will resolve on their own. The remaining 10% – roughly 40,000 babies each year – who will need the opinion of a specialist are the children that VBF is most concerned about because of the ongoing questions about if and when to pursue treatment.
In 2015, VBF Expert Dr. David Darrow was successful in getting his Guidelines for Treating Infantile Hemangiomas published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Because the lifecycle for integrating a new treatment practice into everyday care can be up to eight years, these guidelines are not yet in widespread practice. As a result, many babies with a hemangioma are still not being accurately diagnosed or appropriately treated.
January 9, 2017
Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon
How soon should my child start treatment for their vascular birthmark? That is one of the most common questions VBF receives. This topic is so important that I hosted the first FACEBOOK LIVE WITH DR. LINDA on January 9th regarding this very topic.
Infantile Hemangiomas and the Port Wine Stains are the two vascular birthmark types that most parents write to us about regarding early intervention.
For the Infantile Hemangioma, it is critical that an accurate diagnosis be made and that treatment begins at or around the four-week well baby checkup. Why? Because this is when the “map” of the hemangioma is usually fully present and it is the best time to try to abort the growth. Most doctors have been trained to “ignore” these lesions and to tell the parents to “leave it alone, it will eventually go away.” However, this philosophy, which is referred to as “benign neglect,” is contrary to the mission and purpose of not only the VBF, but to many of the treatment experts that work with us.
Most parents have an instinct or “still small voice” that tells them something is “not right.”
December 7, 2016
by: Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon
It goes without saying that every child is special. But for me, every child with a vascular birthmark is extra special. Ever since 1994, when my daughter Christine was diagnosed with a hemangioma, my life has been focused on helping every family affected by a vascular birthmark. That’s why I founded the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation (VBF), to educate affected families and treatment experts about the latest information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of these often complex lesions. No one was there for me in 1994. Because of that, I vowed to God that I would dedicate my life to this cause, so that no parent would be alone on this journey. That was 22 years ago. Today, I am proud to announce that the vow I made in 1994 has resulted in the most amazing event in VBF history.