VBF Global Ambassadors are a global network of advocates who work together with VBF to build awareness of vascular birthmarks and funnel support to every corner of the birthmarks communities. In most cases, these are not medical professionals. Many are 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 stories.
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.
Director, VBF Global Ambassador Program
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.
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.
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!
I’ve been teased and made fun of my whole life. Children and adults have run away from me, laughed or smirked, and made comments such as someone beat him up, he was burned, etc. I have made it my mission in life to not judge people by their appearance. I have worked my entire career as a paramedic helping others .
I was born with a large cavernous hemagioma on my left shoulder neck and head. It caused heart trouble at birth and I had vascular surgery when I was three days old. Since then my birthmark has been benign. Between hair and clothes most of it is covered. I have never had it treated and most everyone ignores it or forgets that it is there, including me! Kids sometimes like to guess what it is, and my favorite guess so far is ‘crayons?’. Once a well meaning ID photographer photoshopped it out of my ID photo and it felt extremely odd.
I am a children’s librarian and love to meet patrons with birthmarks. I am married with three kids and live in South Texas.
Hi! My name is Rowanne, I’m 22 and I was born with a port wine stain birthmark on my chest, shoulder and right arm.
From an early age, I realised that I looked different due to how other children and their parents interacted with me. For example, people thinking I had a contagious disease which would then affect my self esteem.
This lead to me getting laser treatment, over several years, which did not work in my experience.
However, due to my laser treatment not working, I had to learn to love my birthmark. As I have grown older, people have become more understanding of visible differences.
I finally feel confident about my birthmark, I actually forget it’s there until someone asks about it or I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror!
I don’t mind when people ask about my birthmark, there is nothing wrong with curiosity but always be polite and please don’t stare!
It has been a journey, but now I hope to share some positivity, and help others see the beauty in their birthmarks too!
Hiya! I’ve lived with a Port Wine Stain birthmark my entire life. It covers nearly my entire right cheek. I had some procedures when I was younger to lighten it up but not removed
Growing up, I’ve had my fair share of bullies for sure but also some bad authority figures. Luckily, I had very supportive parents and close friends that helped me along the way. Though I never met anyone like myself until much later in life which made me feel a little alone, for sure.
Now, through the awesome power of the internet, I’m connecting with this community of awesome people while also making digital art, videos, and more.
Hello! My name is Sabrina and I have port wine stain birthmark on my cheek and chin. When I was a child, neither my parents nor I know what kind of birthmark that is so we didn’t do any treatment. But when I started college, we went to dermatologist and I surprised to know that the treatment cost so high, so I choose to not to do it.
When I was in elementary school, I experienced some bullying because of my mark. They mocked me as if I used a lot of lipstick. Growing up with little self confidence, my biggest fear is when I have to meet new people and adapting to a new environment. I also have a lot of worries how if nobody would accept me when it’s the time I have to enter professional world and looking for a job.
Seeing VBF Community, I read many people who have the same stories supporting each other and it really encourage me. I do really hope that I could meet everyone in person someday!
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.
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.