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

VBF Global Ambassadors are a global network of advocates who are working together with VBF to build awareness of vascular birthmarks and funnel support to every corner of the birthmarks community. In most cases, these are not medical professionals. Many are either themselves an adult who has or had a vascular birthmark or who has a loved one with a vascular birthmark. In the directory below, you’ll learn more about their personal story.

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;
  • 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.

AWARENESS

RESOURCES

CONTACT

Want to learn more about the VBF Global Ambassadors? For any questions or feedback, please please contact:

Our Ambassadors

Reset

Rebecca Streckfuss, United States (US), Arizona

Olivia Grace’s Venous Malformation Journey:

Our 8 year old daughter was diagnosed with an intramuscular venous malformation in her thigh last year. We have been actively seeking out others for help. Her journey of faith and perseverance has lead us to VBF, and we are encouraged with what her future holds #Hope

Retha Botha, South Africa

I’m Retha Botha, a 47yr old mother, wife, Private Nurse Practitioner and I have a port-wine stain birthmark on the right side of my face. My aim is to increase awareness in South Africa regarding treatment available to patients and to work for patients’ rights to be treated. Also, I would like to encourage doctors to increase their knowledge regarding Vascular Brithmarks. Vascular birthmarks need to be recognised by medical aids as a medical condition, that needs treatment and to change the perception and legislation, that it is a cosmetic treatment. We as patients are born this way and we didn’t choose to have a vascular birthmark. I encourage my birthmark buddies to contact me, we can assist each other in dealing with the challenges that we face in South Africa. I am a mother who’s heart is broken for children who are bullied and called names. My goal is to assist my buddies to deal with every day coping and living with a birthmark.

Rif Sleiman Jad Assi, Lebanon

My son Jade-Luccas was born with a facial birthmark (Port Wine Stain). We visited a few dermatologists in the Mea and they all agreed it will lighten by the time he turns 7. Luccas started seeing himself in the mirror, and would try to wipe off his birthmark and ask why it was still there. In school, he was bullied. We started to research doctors around the world, and found the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation and Dr. Linda helped us! We decided to write a book and shed light on raising awareness regarding birthmarks, and increasing social awareness in the Middle East towards accepting others and tolerance.

Ritika Malhotra, India, Delhi

I am born in New Delhi, India. For few years I was not even aware that the red spot on my face was a birthmark, and neither were my parents. The doctor told my parents that It will vanish over time but it did not. In India, it is not very common to have a vascular birthmark so I have spent whole my life explaining people that was not the result of an accident, but something I am born with. There are no treatments available here for these birthmarks, so most of us are just living with it. I found one clinic in Delhi which has pulse dye laser and it’s been a year since I’ve started treatment. I have realized after starting the treatment that we should accept ourselves and I want to embrace my mark. It took me a lot of effort to find my inner peace!

Sadie Auck, United States (US), Wisconsin

Hello, I’m a mother of three. My youngest, Gabriel, developed a lymphatic malformation on the right side of his neck. It appeared when he was approximately 3 months old. We have had multiple appointments and have finally landed in the care of Children’s hospital of Wisconsin. Gabriel is 9 months old and is waiting for the next steps in his treatment plan which will include an MRI and sclerotherapy.

Samantha Aube, United States (US), Connecticut

I grew up with a prominent infantile strawberry hemangioma birthmark on the left side of my face. Beginning at nine years old, I underwent 17 surgeries on my face (5 plastic, and 12 laser) at Children’s Hospital, in Boston.

I am eager to share my experiences as a former patient, to include my everyday living with a hemangioma. Ultimately, I want to make an impact on children and adults who live with a vascular anomaly like mine.

Samantha Lemanske, United States (US), Kansas

Evelyn Grace, our 19-month-old daughter was born at 34 weeks due to preeclampsia. She came into this world with a fight and a 17 day stay in the NICU at Overland Park Regional in Overland Park, KS. Evelyn’s doctor was sure it was just brushing from her traumatic birth. A few days later, her father and I were told the news that it was a Port Wine Stain birthmark. We were shocked, as we had never heard of a such thing before that moment. Evelyn was soon tested for Sturge-Weber Syndrome and possibly blindness in her left eye and waiting on the results seemed like forever. Thankfully enough, Evelyn was cleared of any further complications. Days went by, we left the NICU and was referred to a Dermatologist to talk about laser option, this was intimidating. Her Dermatologist recommended 4-6 treatments for her PWS to fade over the next few years. Here we are 5 treatments in and still have little to no fading on Evelyn’s cheek. We get looks, questions and comments while in public, which eat away at me considering Evelyn has no idea what is being said and just can’t help but smile back. We have learned to ignore the comments and just remember how special she truly is. We will continue our journey with treatments.

Sarah Woodhouse, United States (US), New York

I’m Sarah, 31, and live in New York with my three children and husband. I have a PWS covering over 50% of my body. When I was younger I was severely bullied because of my birthmark. While not an easy experience, I used the fuel to ignite my personal journey in speaking out against bullying, as well as being an advocate to others in need. While I did have several laser treatments at a young age when in 8th grade I decided against further treatment and came to fully accept and love myself both inside and out. While I’m currently a stay at home mom with my young children, I dream of doing advocacy work, spreading a message of self-love and body positivity and one day writing a children’s book to address these issues. The first step in my journey is connecting and being a resource for others on a similar journey. I want to give parents and children hope that you can come out of this medical journey with confidence, a strong spirit and appreciation for life.

Scott Cupples, United States (US), New Jersey

I am Scott Cupples, Lead Ambassador of the VBF Global Ambassador Team. I have lived my entire life with an untreated Port Wine Stain vascular birthmark up until starting treatments last year (thanks to VBF). Of course there have been times where my birthmark has made me feel insecure, but I’ve always had the mentality that it will never keep me from accomplishing what I want in life. In addition to my role at VBF, I work in corporate finance and serve in the Air National Guard as a First Sergeant. My goal with VBF is to help as many families as possible who are affected by vascular birthmarks, and to continuously spread awareness.

Shae Freeman, United States (US), Arizona

My 16 year old son DeVion was born with Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome to his upper body. His younger years were full of constant hospitalizatikns and surgeries, amputations, blood transfusions, ect. We have been blessed in the past with help through the VBF and have continuously helped others as well in our journey!