Most kids like to blend in when it comes to the way they look.
Friends might choose to wear the same kind of shoes or get similar
haircuts. But other aspects of a person's appearance are
tougher to change.
Evan, 11, understands this really well. Like a lot of 6th
graders, he likes "Star Wars" and soccer. But unlike most
kids, he has a large reddish birthmark on his cheek. People notice
this maroon mark and they
haven't always been nice about it. But Evan doesn't
complain. He's learned some important life lessons and turned
them into a children's book he wrote with his mom. The story is
about a little bird that has - you guessed it - a noticeable
birthmark. Here's what Evan had to say about being a kid
who's a little bit different:
What kind of birthmark do you have and what caused it?
I have a port-wine stain. It's blood vessels close to the
skin that are wider than usual. I'm not sure what it's
caused by. My mom asked the doctors and they don't really know
what causes birthmarks either. Some people think it might be
hereditary. My great-grandmother had a port-wine stain on her arm.
But nobody else in my family has one. Some people say birthmarks
are angel's kisses. I think that's true.
What's it been like for you, having a birthmark?
I pretty much live a regular life, except for people asking me
about it all the time. It's just annoying sometimes, because so
many people ask me about it. And having to go to the laser surgery.
They give me some medicine so it doesn't burn as much, but my
face gets swollen and bruised for a couple of days. Then my face
goes back to normal.
Why do you have laser surgery?
Because it will close up the blood vessels so that if I ever cut
my face it won't bleed really bad. The surgery also lightens
the birthmark for some kids, though it hasn't lightened much
How do you deal with people's comments?
When people ask me what's on my face, I just say,
"It's a birthmark." I just don't really care
about what people say. It doesn't matter what other people
think about me, it's only important what I think about myself
and I think I'm just a normal person.
Is there anything good about having a birthmark?
Yep. You're different than everyone else. You're unique.
It's been good for me because it's gotten me to write a
book with my mom, and it's helping a lot of people everywhere,
so I think I was meant to have a birthmark.
What advice would you give other kids (who don't have
birthmarks) when they meet a kid with a noticeable birthmark? How
should they act?
You should treat the person like you would treat anyone else and
not ask about their birthmark. If you do ask, be polite and not
obnoxious. Try and get to know the person first and then you can
ask them about their birthmark politely. Don't just jump right
in to saying something that might be annoying and hurt someone
What advice would you give other kids who have birthmarks (or
other differences) about dealing with people's comments?
You should focus on stuff that's important to you. Focus on
your talents and show other people that your birthmark isn't
the most important thing about you. You should be yourself.
Don't care what other people think about you. You should just
be proud of yourself. You should focus on your good qualities like
how smart you are, how kind you are to other people, how athletic
you are, how creative you are, etc. Be who you are and you'll
make good friends. If some people still aren't nice, just
don't be friends with them. You can't be friends with
everybody. But you can still make a lot of good friends who have
similar interests and like you for who you are.
Patrice Hyde, MD
Date reviewed: June 2006
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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