This is Marion Wood, a previous recipient of the Roy G. Geronemus, M.D., Humanitarian award. I just wanted to share with VBF about how I was able to raise awareness concerning vascular hemangiomas, and how VBF made it so easy for me to do so.
I am currently taking Hematology at San Francisco State University, and I had been wanting to take this course for a long time because it relates to me personally and on a career-goal level. I was born with a vascular hemangioma, which has motivated me to one day become a pediatric dermatologist specializing in infantile vascular anomalies. There is so much I don’t know regarding the condition and its etiology, and I was hoping this class could give me a better understanding of such. When I was an infant, the first specialist my parents brought me to was a pediatric hematology-oncology specialist in New York, Dr. Francine Blei, MD. Taking Hematology has opened my eyes to the knowledge of the specialists and doctors who have been treating me over the years.
Since May is Vascular Birthmark Awareness month, I shared with my class about vascular birthmarks and how our career paths can be impactful in learning more about the condition. I gave my classmates and professor, Joseph Musallam of University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), the 10 facts about vascular hemangiomas handout from the VBF website and shared with them my personal experiences with being born with a vascular birthmark.
I am inspired by the work ethic of each of my classmates, and I wanted to let them know that maybe one day they could discover the cause of vascular hemangiomas, other vascular anomaly conditions, or any condition for that matter. I discussed the importance of it being okay to be vulnerable because in the process we can truly make a difference and make a positive impact in the lives of others. I also shared how I wanted to raise awareness due to my personal experience of insurance companies denying coverage of my pre-existing condition when I was an infant. I love seeing the work VBF is doing, such as to ensure Hemangeol will be covered by under Medicaid.
I will be forever grateful for all the resources VBF has provided to my family and to families just like mine all throughout the world. Thank you so much.