This is a story about courage and loving
yourself no matter what. We should all be thankful for who we are at
all times. A teenage girl who has been verbally abused for years by
other children has revealed how she has come to love the hundreds of
birthmarks covering her face and body.
to endure cruel taunts from other children – and adults – but she has
developed a positive attitude towards her rare skin condition, which
affects around one in every 500,000 people.
to comment when they see me,’ she said. ‘They say things like, “You
look like you’re dirty, take a wash.”
at the end of the day, we all have something about us that’s unusual,
whether it’s on the inside or the outside.
graduated from high school, admitted she used to struggle to overcome
the negative comments she received.
was only young and it made me feel different to the other kids, like
something was wrong with me.
negative comments and remember that most people stare and say cruel
things because they’re not used to seeing someone with my condition.
birthmarks as a baby, which shocked medical staff at Stanley Memorial
Hospital in Albermarle, North Carolina, where she was born – as well
as her parents.
construction worker, and her Mum Julie Swaringen, 41, a shoe shop
supervisor, took baby Ciera to Carolinas Medical Centre in Charlotte,
North Carolina, where her birthmarks were analysed.
Her parents were told that her
birthmarks posed no health risk and she was taken home, where she lives
with older sisters, Randi, 26, Hannah, 24, and Anna, 20.
been times when people’s ignorance has gotten to her, with their
comments or stares, but all and all she has stood strong.
great personality, and I couldn’t be more proud of her – she is one of
the strongest people I know.’
‘I feel lucky to have grown up in a
small town, because most of the people around me know about my
birthmarks, so I felt quite normal,’ she said.
operating is not possible, as there are too many – and the number will
increase throughout her life.
and I often get new ones, but I’m hoping that will slow down as I leave
my teenage years behind,’ she said.
her body, she also has to take more care in the sun as she has higher
chance of developing skin cancer.
said. ‘I have to be extremely careful to make sure I’m protected on hot
days. I use high-factor cream and don’t spend too much time in the sun.
Melanocytic Nevus led her to discover online groups run by Nevus
Outreach, an association that provides support for people affected by
the skin condition.