The parents of a nine-year-old girl have credited blood pressure tablets for helping to ‘cure’ their daughter’s facial birthmark.
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 by the time she reached six months old, the birthmark had grown to the size of a grapefruit.
Thankfully Chloe was put forward for pioneering treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital where her birthmark was treated with propranolol - which is traditionally used to treat high blood pressure.
Doctors hoped the drug might help as it can reduce the amount of blood flowing through it.
And the treatment seemed to work as the medication caused the mark to gradually shrink and by 2014, Chloe, then five, was ready for her first of three plastic surgeries to remove it completely.
Now nine, Chloe’s parents have decided to open up about her story in a bid to raise awareness.
"We were so happy with the results from the blood pressure tablets as it reduced her birthmark significantly,"Jean, from Milton Keynes explained.
Jean went on to say that as Chloe’s birthmark grew she would often notice strangers staring at her in the street.
"We knew we couldn't wait until she was old enough for it to disappear on its own,” she says.
"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 that was then classed as inactive.”
Jean went on to say how relieved the family are as there is now no chance it will regrow.
"Chloe just has a small scar on her forehead where the birthmark used to be and she can choose to have laser treatment in the future.
Jean hopes that by sharing Chloe’s journey it will help overcome the stigma attached to strawberry birthmarks.
"The stigma is horrendous,” she said. “I would have complete strangers saying 'it’s such a shame, she would be such a pretty baby without that,'“
"To me she was perfect but to everyone else she was 'broken.'
Chloe was thankfully spotted by a specialist in hospital who referred her for a trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
"Thanks to them, Chloe no longer has her birthmark and it didn't grow any larger."
Jean says Chloe’s birthmark was was already causing her right eye to droop down and would no doubt have been more damaging to have left it until now.
She hopes that Chloe’s story could help to inform parents of the options open to them in terms of treatment.
"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."
According to the NHS infantile haemangiomas, also known as strawberry marks, are raised marks on the skin that are usually red. They can appear anywhere on the body.
The site reveals that haemangiomas are common, particularly in girls, and affect around 5% of babies soon after birth.
They rapidly increase in size for the first six months before eventually shrinking and often disappearing completely by around seven years of age.
However, haemangiomas that get bigger rapidly, or those that interfere with vision or feeding, may need to be treated.
It isn’t the first time parents have opened up about their children’s birthmarks.
Last year a mum revealed that she had spent nearly £15K on laser surgery in an attempt to remove a birthmark on her baby’s face.