VBF Day of Awareness Date in the current year: May 15, 2024

VBF Day of Awareness VBF Day of Awareness, also known as the International Day of Awareness for Vascular Birthmarks or simply Vascular Birthmark Day, is observed annually on May 15. Its main goal is to raise public awareness and eliminate common misconceptions, stereotypes and stigma surrounding vascular birthmarks.

A birthmark is an irregularity on the skin which is congenital (i.e. present at birth) or appears within the first month of life. Birthmarks are benign and may be caused by overgrowth of blood vessels, fat, fibroblasts, keratinocytes, melanocytes, or smooth muscles.

There are two main types of birthmarks: pigmented birthmarks caused by excess melanin in the skin and vascular birthmarks, also known as red birthmarks, caused by the overgrowth of blood vessels. Common types of vascular birthmarks include hemangiomas, port-wine stains, and vascular malformations. Vascular birthmarks are extremely common; they are present in about one of 10 newborns.

Most vascular birthmarks are harmless, but some people choose to reduce or remove them for cosmetic reasons or to prevent them from thickening. Treatments used to manage vascular birthmarks include steroids (only for hemangiomas), laser treatment, and surgery.

While there is nothing wrong with birthmarks, they have been stigmatized for centuries. Back in the day, when a child was born with a birthmark, it was believed to have been caused by the mother’s emotional state during pregnancy. In fact, this superstition still persist in some parts of the world. Even though we all know now that birthmarks are harmless and not contagious, children with visible vascular birthmarks may be bullied by peers, which can severely affect their self-esteem and even cause anxiety and depression.

VBF Day of Awareness was launched by the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation (VBF), an international charitable organization founded by Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon whose daughter was diagnosed with hemangioma. The foundations works to connect individuals affected by vascular birthmarks with the appropriate healthcare professionals, provides informational resources for patients and physicians, and helps fund research and programs that focus on promoting acceptance for individuals with birthmarks.

There are many ways to participate in VBF Day of Awareness. You can learn more about vascular birthmarks and share the information you’ve learned with others, tell the story of your birthmark and its impact on your life on social media to normalize vascular birthmarks and promote acceptance, sign the VBF Anti-Bullying Pledge, participate in a VBF awareness event or organize an event of your own, donate to VBF, and spread the word on social media with the hashtag #VBFAwarenessDay.

Another way to support the campaign and raise vascular birthmark awareness is to join VBF’s #PutOnYourBirthmark challenge. Share a photo of yourself, a loved one, your family, or your coworkers with a heart on your cheek to show your support for people with vascular birthmarks and help create acceptance.

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VBF Day of Awareness, International Day of Awareness for Vascular Birthmarks, international observances, awareness days, vascular birthmarks