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
Ana Lankford, United States, Oklahoma
When I was born little to nothing was known about PWS. Treatment was non existent. When I was 16 I began my laser journey with the first laser used to treat PWS, and I still have scars. Treatment and knowledge has come so far, and it is so exciting to see the strides being made in research, outreach, and treatment. Today my PWS is just me, it has shaped me to become a caring and empathetic person and guided me into a helping profession.
Ana Pinto, Bolivia, None
My baby was born with a hemangioma in her mouth and nose. When she was a week old she started ulceration. At that moment, we started to look for help. Sadly, we couldn’t find a doctor in our country who could treat her. She took propranolol, atenolol, timolol and she received laser. Nothing worked early on, so we started to look for options on the internet which is where we found Dr Linda. She told us to contact baby face foundation. After a year of waiting, they took us to New York and Dr. Waner and Dr. Warren made the reconstructive surgery for my baby. We found angels in this journey that have changed my baby’s life and we can’t be more thankful for this opportunity to spread awareness!
Andrea Olivo, United States, Massachusetts
I was born in Venezuela, I was diagnosed with a hemangioma and was told we should wait until I turned 7 years old because it was supposed to disappear. However, that never happened. So I began treatment very late, and due to inexperienced doctors I almost lost my life when I was 7 years old. After this experience, doctors recommended that my parents to take me out of the country and see vascular anomalies specialists, so we came to Boston. It has been a long process with lots of procedures, but God has been great, and this experience has made me strong. Otherwise, I am a grateful women, I’m a violinist, I speak Spanish, English, Portugués, as well as sign language. I went to Med School for 4 years in my country, I didn’t finish because I move to the US, but at some point I would love to continue studying.
Andrea Rodgers, United States, Washington
I was born with a lymphatic malformation/hemangioma on my left hip. I had two pretty invasive surgeries as a baby and three more between the ages of 10 and 25. Thankfully, I never really have had many complications over the years. I’m now in my 40’s, have had two children and am an avid runner. I’ve completed over 20 half marathons and a full marathon all with a lymphatic malformation/hemangioma the covers my entire left hip.
Andrew Jenkins, United Kingdom, None
My name is Andrew Jenkins, and I have a port wine stain (Capillary Malformation), on my right cheek. It was looked at regularly until I was nine-years-old, I saw a plastic surgeon at Gloucester Royal Hospital, named Mr. Clive Reid. He intended to do a skin graft on my birthmark but decided against it because of the location, and we decided to put my name forward for laser treatment. In November 1992, I received a letter from a Mr. J M Kenealy from Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, offering me some laser treatment and offering a summary of how it works. I had a test patch done on my left arm and had no adverse reactions, so we decided to go ahead with the treatment.
Angela Papini, United States, Washington
Hello, I’m Angela. I am a 45 year old, proud mom of 3 amazing boys. I own 2 yoga studios and I’m so grateful for the VBF community and all that it stands for. Living with a birthmark on your face is not easy, I feel like I have had a bit of all the “feels” associated with it. I believe there are many gifts that present themselves by having a PWS. Some come in real friendships & support, part of it is being different/unique, and some come as the understanding that some people can be really mean and you don’t want to show up in the world in that way. I’ve only recently looked at the potential of removing my birthmark. In the past, it wasn’t an option, insurance wouldn’t cover it. I love that VBF has given us a choice, some direction and the opportunity to work with the best! I am always available to listen and share, connection is key to all survival. -Namaste
Anna Hogben, United Kingdom, None
Hi My Is Anna Hogben I am from London. Was diagnosed with PhACE symptom at 4 weeks old I am now 23. I have had a open heart surgery and 5 surgeries done on my face by Dr Waner. I still have regular health checks and MRI scan to keep track of my condition and Am due to have surgery on my back to fix my scoliosis which im not sure if it is related to PHACE.
Anna-Marie Royal, United States, Maryland
My daughter, Etta Rose was born in 2021 with a Port Wine Stain birthmark on her face. When she was born, we were told that she had bruising on her face from delivery. My husband and I knew that something more was happening and the on call pediatrician confirmed our suspicions. Since then, we have been to countless ophthalmology, neurology, and dermatology appointments. We have yet to start laser treatments, but will be starting later next month. Our goal for Etta Rose is healthy skin and confidence in addition to feeling loved, empowered and unique. We also want to be able to effectively educate those who are unaware of VBARS. This community has given us so much knowledge already and we want to continue learning and connecting with this community and beyond!
Aparna N, United States, New Jersey
“What’s that on your face? Is that chocolate on your cheek?” These are questions I have been inundated with throughout my life. I was born with a congenital nevus on my cheek. There were times I was ashamed of my condition, asking myself “why me?” As I grew older, I started asking complex questions about my birthmark that people could not answer. “Could a genetic mutation cause congenital nevi?”
I have always had an interest in science, but it is my experience of having a nevus that fueled my passion for helping others. The doctors who treated me further sparked my passion, converting complex science into a digestible form. Their patience with me never faltered, despite the wave of questions coming their way. My dermatologist told me, “Do not worry about what people say and go make your mark on this world.” It took time for me to accept that my birthmark is what makes me unique. I now understand that outward appearance does not define my self-worth, and inner beauty is what truly matters. My condition allowed me to empathize with patients and introduced me to the wonderful VBF community. I remember attending the VBF conference at Lenox Hill years ago and being so inspired. I want to use my voice to help spread awareness about vascular birthmarks.