A mother, feeling a sense of relief, recently shared a touching moment when her baby girl said goodbye to a birthmark on her forehead. This, however, came after facing criticism from medical authorities.
A rare birthmark
Introducing Celine Casey and her two-year-old daughter, Vienna Shaw, born with a rare congenital melanocytic nevus (CMN) on her forehead — a unique birthmark that affects only one in every 20,000 newborns. Upon discovering the birthmark, Celine was gripped with worry, questioning if there had been a misstep during her pregnancy, unaware of the implications for her daughter.
What she did know was her strong desire to have it removed, aspiring for Vienna to grow up without the burden of feeling different.
While the birthmark posed no threat to Brookshaw’s physical health, Casey recognized its potential impact on her daughter’s mental well-being as she grew older and interacted with other curious children. Celine shared that there were times when the family opted to conceal Vienna’s birthmark by covering her face, noting, “We went out daily with her, and we got a few stares.”
However, the surgery proved to be a challenging undertaking.
Upon seeking assistance from the NHS, the family encountered disheartening feedback. Physicians explained that they couldn’t proceed with the operation to remove the birthmark, deeming it a cosmetic procedure.
However, the parents viewed the situation differently. Their concern stemmed from the fear of potential teasing from other children, which could adversely affect their daughter’s mental well-being from a young age. Casey also worried that if the birthmark wasn’t removed, it might lead her daughter to resent both her and her partner.
Taking matters into their own hands, the parents decided to raise the necessary funds privately. Through crowdfunding efforts, they successfully gathered $52,000 within a mere 24 hours. However, faced with increased hospital costs in 2020, an additional $27,000 was needed. With a renewed funding request, they ultimately reached their goal.
They faced hard times with doctors.
A disagreement between the medical team and the parents has caused a rift in opinions. Vienna’s parents sought to have the mark removed through surgery, but the surgeon declined to perform the procedure. The surgeon’s position is based on the belief that only the child, once she is of age, should be the one to make such a decision.
Following the emergence of this controversy, Daniel Brookshaw, Vienna’s father, expressed his disappointment with the doctor’s opinion. The doctor also mentioned consulting with a dermatologist who agreed with the surgeon, citing that the mark doesn’t threaten Vienna’s health, nor is it cancerous.
But the surgery was successfully done.
Vienna, now two years old, has successfully had her birthmark removed by her doctors, leaving only a faint scar between her eyebrows. Casey regularly shares updates on Shaw’s scar and recovery process on her social media, with followers expressing admiration for how beautiful the little girl looks.
Despite the birthmark being eradicated, the family continues to travel between cities for ongoing evaluations of the scar’s healing and to assess whether any further procedures are necessary beyond the three already undergone. Shaw is now enjoying the life of a typical two-year-old.
Vienna’s journey with her birthmark brings attention to the delicate balance between parental advocacy and a child’s autonomy in medical decisions. Another mom recently faced criticism after lasering her little son’s large birthmark.