The Global Ambassadors are a network of advocates for the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation who work together to raise awareness about vascular birthmarks, anomalies, and related syndromes (VBARS) all while cultivating a supportive community. This network is comprised of people living with a vascular birthmark, as well as friends and family members who have a loved one affected by VBARS. We are organized into five fundamental committees, which are led by members of the VBF Global Ambassador Council. Our council is composed of the most active advocates within the Global Ambassador program who donate extra commitment time towards maintaining program engagement. Each committee initiative serves the purpose of expanding our reach and spreading awareness about VBARS, while supporting the mission of the VBF. Our committees consist of Regional & Virtual Meet Ups, Awareness, Fundraising, Ask/Accept Anti-Bullying, and the Parent Advocacy Network. The VBF Global Ambassador Program supports the VBF mission, provides helpful resources to our network, and amplifies Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon’s vision.
Regional and Virtual Meet Ups organizes, facilitates, and encourages members of the VBF Global Ambassador community to connect through channels beyond social media such as Zoom meetings or in person local meet ups.
Fundraising helps our community raise funds for VBF through online and in person events which goes towards our mission of networking those affected by a vascular birthmark, anomaly or related syndrome (VBARS) to the appropriate medical professionals for evaluation and possible treatment.
Awareness is designed to help educate, spread VBF resources as well as expand the VBF Global Ambassador program by connecting Ambassadors with areas of interest in the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation network.
Ask/Accept Anti-Bullying promotes a ‘Bully-Free’ zone and will raise awareness in regards to handling bullying, acceptance and provide support within the community.
Parent Advocacy Network is a safe space created to help navigate the journey for parents and families with children affected by VBARS.
Search this page to find someone local – or with whom you’d like to connect – to learn more about:
- Physicians in your area who can help to medically manage vascular birthmark cases
- Their experience living with a vascular birthmark
- VBF’s Day/Month of Awareness, Put on Your Birthmark, Buddy Booby Read-Along, Ask/Accept anti-bullying, and other birthmark advocacy and awareness programs
- Fundraising events in support of VBF – create a Birthday Fundraiser and get some awesome VBF Global Ambassador swag!
- And much more!
If you or someone in your family has a birthmark and you’d like to speak with others who have had a similar experience, the Global Ambassadors can also help find personal support from other patients and families based on their own unique experiences.
- VBF Global Ambassador Facebook Group. With almost 800 members!
- Vascular Birthmarks Awareness Video on TV. Airs nationally on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).
- Global Ambassador Awareness Video Project. Question and Answer with VBF Global Ambassadors.
- Global Ambassador Training. Required training for all VBF Global Ambassadors.
- Volunteer Release. Required release for all VBF Global Ambassadors.
- Want to learn more about the VBF Global Ambassadors? For any questions or feedback, please contact:
Director, VBF Global Ambassador Program
Search Our Ambassadors
Abby Burdick, United States, Minnesota
Hello! My name is Abby; my daughter Edith was born October 2019 with what initially thought was a PWS, but ended up being a Hemangioma on the left side of her face. It started to show about a week to two weeks after birth. She was admitted for 5 days at 3 weeks of age to start treating the Hemangioma with propranolol. Along with her facial Hemangioma she also has PHACES. She has the PHA-E portion. She is being closely monitored due to her eye, but she also has a cavernoma/Hemangioma in the occipitapal lobe of her brain that could potentially affect her vision in some way, or it might not. We are located in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. My husband Marcus (Edith’s father) and I also have a 2.5 year old son, Marshall who adores his baby sister most of the time and two dogs!
Abigail Jo Scruggs, United States, South Carolina
Hi my name is Abigail Scruggs or Abby Jo for short. I am 16 years old and have a Port Wine Stain that covers the left side of my face, from my lower lid down to my chest. It wraps around my neck and scalp in the back of my head. It crosses the mid-line at my lip down to my chest. When I was born I was diagnosed with Sturge Webber Syndrome due to the placement of my birthmark. However, after several years and multiple MRI’s, that diagnosis was reversed due to no brain involvement. I have been having PDL treatments under GA since I was 6 months old, 5-7 times a year.
I have my eyes checked for glaucoma every six months, for the rest of my life. Although the treatments take up a lot of time, I don’t let it hold me back! I sing at several venues and multiple churches in my area. I play cello in the orchestra, piano, guitar, banjo, etc and take voice lessons at a local college. I have been in pageants for the last three years. I am in honors classes at school. I have been on the student council every year and am the president of my school Beta Club. I recently went to the South Carolina Beta Convention, ran for president and won! I will go to Nationals in TX this summer and run for the national presidency! I plan on getting into politics after college and eventually become the first female President of the United States!
As my Beta Presidential slogan says, Don’t Go With The Flow, Just Keep Swimming! No matter what life throws at you, don’t get swept away by the current! Just keep swimming, just keep going, you might just change the tide!
Ailee Martynowski, United States, Ohio
I was born in Canada & currently reside in the USA. I have a large PWS birthmark that covers my right shoulder & chest, arm, and hand. It’s always been a major part of my identity but it was not necessarily how I defined myself. I will always strive to be a positive role model for anyone born with a birthmark. Growing up looking “different” than everyone else gave me a special stance on kindness and I embody that principle in life. I have always felt like a champion for the underdog and to this day, always stand up for those being given a hard time.
I have a natural protectiveness for others who may also be perceived as being at a disadvantage for the way that they were born. A healthy attitude about oneself is everything and I’ve always embraced who I am and haven’t wanted to change my appearance. Kindness, through awareness, can and should start with you.
AJ McFarlane, United Kingdom, None
My name is AJ, I am a young adult from near Glasgow in Scotland with a port wine-stain birthmark on the right side of my face. Throughout my life I have had a huge mountain to climb, as when I was young I also had cancer in the brain, which after surgery left me with a tremor in the right side of my body. As you can imagine with this plus having a birthmark things haven’t been easy right? Short answer is yes, but I have broken down barriers, stigmas and changed peoples perception of me because I have had the driving force of will power, to be the best version of me regardless of having a difficult life.
I now live the life certain people thought was never going to happen. I date, I work out, I go one crazy nights out with friends.
Yes I have been bullied for looking unique, yes I have self harmed in the past due to the mental impact of bullying and staring however I have always pushed through and became the man I am today.
Alana Dolcemascolo, United States, New Jersey
My name is Alana Dolcemascolo. I have a venous vascular malformation on my right arm. I had 17 sclerotherapy treatments with Dr. Robert Rosen in NYC. Also I volunteered at 2 of the VBF conferences in NYC. At the age of 6 I had my first surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital.
Aleks Pannell, United States, Mississippi
My name is Aleks and I was born with port wine stains on my back, bottom, both legs, and feet. I receive a lot of stares and comments from kids and adults when I wear shorts, skirts, and swimwear. I know I am always going to have stares and questions because my skin has port wine stains but I’ve learned to embrace my PWS and educate people when they have questions or comments. I’m not afraid to show my skin because I’m comfortable in the skin I’m in. I’m 13 years old now and my dream is to become a doctor. I’d love to talk with children who have questions or need someone to talk to.
Alexander Freyr W. Stefánsson, Iceland, None
I have lived with PWS for all my life. I have suffered through depression because of it and many other factors. I’m now working on my passion at Culinary School in Kópavogur, Iceland.
Alexandra Guccione, United States, New Jersey
I have lymphatic malformations and hemangioma on my right side, specifically my chest, arm and back.
I was diagnosed at a couple months old and have been treating the lymphatic malformations and hemangioma primarily with surgery throughout my life. I am excited to connect with this community!
Alexandra Haan, Netherlands, None
Hi. I am a mother of two kids. The eldest has a lymphatic malformation for which she has had many procedures. With a few friends I started Stichting Benthe, a non profit foundation. I want to help VBF promote awareness!
Alexis Corso, United States, New York
My daughter was born with a congenital hemangioma on the back of her head, with a second smaller one growing on top. She was transferred over a hour away at birth for testing. She’s 11 months old now and it is shrinking but still visible. No medication was needed.