A woman with a port wine stain birthmark covering over half of her face says she has finally learn to accept her beauty after receiving support from an online community.
Anne Antonelli, 43, from Oklahoma, says she never wants to get her birthmark removed.
Taking part in a body positive photoshoot two years ago, Antonelli posted the photos online – and the reaction was incredible.
“I got a huge response from posting my pictures online and because of that response, I became aware that a lot of people actually have a port wine stain,” she says.
“I have so many more birthmark buddies now and it’s really fun. I didn’t have that when I was growing up.”
Antonelli, who works as an accountant, says she’s now totally comfortable going out in public.
“My birthmark tells me who is comfortable with me, who is not, who is worth my time and who is not. I never want to get rid of it,” she says.
“There are tons of people who spend months and even years in a bad friendship or relationship before seeing the person’s true colours. I can see them in five minutes. That is truly a gift.
“I’ve been giving and getting a lot from others by sharing my story and what I’ve gained from that is self-acceptance.
“It takes a lot of energy and self-esteem to go out in public, but now I’m at the point where I have more good days than bad.”
Port wine stain birth marks are caused by a gene mutation, where a formation of capillary blood vessels near the surface of the skin, leaving permanent pink, red or purple marks.
Recently, Amanda Leutenberg forked out nearly £15K on laser surgery in an attempt to remove a birthmark on her baby’s face.
Within days of her birth, mum Amanda, 34 from Chicago was horrified when strangers started commenting on her appearance, often mistaking the mark for a rash.
Kudos to Anne for learning to love the skin she’s in.
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