When Chloe Lambert was born, her parents Jean, 38, and Michael, 39, thought she had a bruise on her forehead.
But she was later diagnosed with hemangioma (a strawberry birthmark), and as she reached six months old, it had grown to the size of a grapefruit.
The birthmark was treated with propranolol – which is traditionally used to treat high blood pressure – as it can reduce the amount of blood flowing through it.
It caused it to gradually shrink and by 2014, Chloe, then five, was ready for her first of three plastic surgeries to remove the birthmark.
Chloe, now nine, has a faint scar running down her forehead and her parents are sharing her story in a bid to raise awareness.
Jean, from Milton Keynes, Bucks, said: ‘We were so happy with the results from the blood pressure tablets as it reduced her birthmark significantly.
‘Chloe’s birthmark was huge by the time she was six-months-old and we’d often be stared at in the street by strangers.
‘We knew we couldn’t wait until she was old enough for it to disappear on its own.
‘The medication caused the mass to reduce in size and by the time she was five years old, she was eligible for her first surgery to remove the birthmark was classed as inactive.
‘We’re so relieved it’s all over now as there’s no chance it’ll regrow.’
The family want to speak out about Chloe’s story to reduce the stigma around birthmarks and to get people talking about them.
She added: ‘The stigma is horrendous, I would have complete strangers saying “it’s such a shame, she would be such a pretty baby without that,” while staring at her in her pram.
‘To me she was perfect but to everyone else she was ‘broken’.
Jean says the treatment changed everything and she feels lucky that they were treated before the birthmark had more of an impact on Chloe’s health.
‘Thanks to them, Chloe no longer has her birthmark and it didn’t grow any larger,’ she says.
‘It was already causing her right eye to droop down and would no doubt have been more damaging to have left it until now.
‘Even though our journey with Chloe’s birthmark is over, I do still offer support online for others who are in the same position we’ve been in.
‘I think it’s important that people know about the options, we were very lucky to have been put forward to take the blood pressure medication but not everyone is.
‘I often use Birthmark Support UK on Facebook which is a great way to connect with those in the same position.’
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