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VBF Day of Awareness – May 15, 2023

V.B.F. Day of Awareness is observed on May 15 every year. It was established by the Vascular Birthmark Foundation, marked by Congressional Resolution, to raise awareness about individuals living with vascular birthmarks, promote acceptance, and raise funds for anyone who requires treatment. The former is an international charitable organization that brings together people affected by vascular birthmarks, anomalies, tumors, or syndrome and medical professionals. May also happens to be V.B.F. International Month of Awareness for vascular birthmarks. People around the world join hands to raise awareness about and promote acceptance of vascular birthmarks.

History of VBF Day of Awareness

Vascular birthmarks, also known as red birthmarks, are often a result of incorrectly formed blood vessels — these blood vessels often clump together in a particular area of the individual’s skin. Another type of vascular birthmark, hemangiomas, is the most common tumor found in infancy. About one in 10 newborns are born with vascular birthmarks. Throughout history, whenever a child was born with a vascular birthmark, its mother was blamed due to the belief that her emotions branded the fetus. It was only in the 19th century that this belief, rooted in folklore, began to die down.

Traditional medicine dictated letting birthmarks grow and regress on their own. More recent research suggested, however, that most lesions like these do not regress to a “cosmetically acceptable appearance” and will thus require corrective surgery of some sort. There has been a consequent push by medical professionals and researchers to leave old practices of neglect in the past and adopt a more proactive approach when dealing with vascular malformations.

The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation was founded by Dr. Linda Rozell Shannon in 1994 after her daughter, Christine, was diagnosed with hemangioma. The following year, Dr. Milton Waner operated on Christine to remove the hemangioma. He later became the first Medical Director of V.B.F. The international charitable organization, to this day, brings together people affected by vascular birthmarks, anomalies, tumors, or syndrome and medical professionals.

VBF Day of Awareness timeline

Pre-19th Century
A Mother’s Fault

Folkloric beliefs hold that a vascular birthmark is entirely a mother’s fault.

19th Century
Wanning Belief

The belief begins to wane.

1994
V.B.F. is Founded

The V.B.F. is founded when Christine Mary Shannon is diagnosed with hemangioma.

1995
Surgery

Shannon’s hemangioma is operated on by Dr. Milton Waner.

VBF Day of Awareness FAQs

Do vascular birthmarks go away?

Some do, others may not.

Can vascular birthmarks be cancerous?

No, they are benign.

How common are vascular birthmarks?

About one in 10 babies are born with vascular birthmarks.

How to Observe VBF Day of Awareness

  1. Learn about vascular birthmarks

    The objective of the V.B.F. Day of Awareness is to raise awareness about vascular birthmarks. Spend a bit of time learning about what they are.

  2. Talk about it on social media

    Help the V.B.F. raise awareness by talking about what you know on social media. Invite your friends and family to follow suit.

  3. Sign the anti-bullying pledge

    The V.B.F. has an anti-bullying pledge aimed at standing against the practice. Consider signing it.

5 Interesting Facts About Birthmarks

  1. Moles can be birthmarks

    Though many people think them to be entirely different, moles can be birthmarks too!

  2. Location

    A birthmark can be anywhere on a baby’s body.

  3. Cultural beliefs

    According to Chinese beliefs, having a birthmark on your right foot indicates that you are adventurous!

  4. Royal lineage

    Between the 17th and 19th centuries, birthmarks were used as proof of royal blood.

  5. A witch’s mark

    Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife, was accused of being a witch because of the birthmark on her neck.

Why VBF Day of Awareness is Important

  1. It raises awareness about a lesser-talked-about phenomenon

    Birthmarks aren’t a commonly discussed topic. We think it’s very important that V.B.F. Day of Awareness brings the topic to light.

  2. It clears up misconceptions

    While awareness is growing, many people aren’t aware of the possible need for medical intervention when it comes to birthmarks. V.B.F. Day of Awareness plays a very important role in dispelling such notions.

  3. It raises awareness about the troubles people living with vascular birthmarks face

    There can often be social repercussions to living with vascular birthmarks. V.B.F. Day of Awareness highlights the trouble these individuals have to face, through no fault of their own.

VBF Day of Awareness dates

YearDateDay
2023May 15Monday
2024May 15Wednesday
2025May 15Thursday
2026May 15Friday
2027May 15Saturday

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