One mum has forked out nearly $27,000 on laser surgery in a bid to remove a birthmark on her baby’s face to make sure it didn’t worsen or affect her health.
Doting mum Amanda Leutenberg’s daughter, Ever, was born with a dark red port-wine stain covering half of her face.
And with strangers staring and mistaking her for having a severe rash, Amanda, decided to research treatments for Ever.
Amanda, 34, opted for laser treatment, costing over 4,500 per session, for her five-month-old daughter to ensure that her skin remains as clear and healthy as possible.
Alongside providing her daughter with the life-changing treatment, Amanda has also created a clothing line, named Ever Grey Designs – which has images of animals with port-wine stains and other conditions on – for children to feel accepted for their differences.
“When they first handed her to me I noticed that something was different – half of her face was dark red and one eye was very swollen,” said Amanda.
“I was nervous because I was being filled with ideas of the worst case scenario, I didn’t even imagine that it could be from a birthmark.
“But then when we did find out it was just a birthmark it was about finding the best way to keep it minimal and keep her skin healthy.
“Despite how expensive the treatment is, I wanted her to start it almost immediately to lower the chance of her having plastic surgery and extensive costs in the future.”
When her daughter was born, the Chicago-based mum was immediately posed with questions about her daughter’s face.
“The first time that I took Ever out of the house after she was born, we were sat in a restaurant eating some breakfast,” said Amanda.
“The waitress came over and looked into Ever’s car seat and immediately said ‘Oh my god, what’s wrong with her face!’
“I was really taken aback and hurt by it – she was only days old and was already getting judgement.
“But I decided to get her out of the car seat and show her off, because I didn’t want her to be upset or she would mirror that emotion in later life.
“Since the treatment I have found it easier to talk about Ever’s birthmark because there’s more to discuss and I can tell people about her treatment and why she looks the way she does.”
To encourage her daughter further to accept her birthmark, Amanda has also created a clothing line for children with differences.
The line includes t-shirts and onesies of animals with differences from asthma, visual impairments and disabilities.
“I decided to make the range so that children would be able to embrace their differences and help them realise that it makes them special,” she said.
“I created a line that was specifically for port-wine stain children – where the mark on the face matches Ever’s.
“As well, when she’s wearing the tops, it makes it easier for people to understand what is going on and that to us it’s beautiful.
“It’s also great when we’re struggling as a family, to know that the clothing line is helping others!”
Got a story tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org