I was born with a red birthmark on the right side of my face, from my eyebrow to my lips. I don't like my birthmark. Because of it, people will often stare at my face, or they will ask what's wrong with me.
Hsiao-Ching was born with a red birthmark on the right side of her face. Growing up, this birthmark attracted the attention of people who would often stare in an unwanted way, making Hsiao-Ching very self-conscious. Hsiao-Ching's parent also worried that the birthmark was not fading away as previously thought, but instead was becoming bigger as their child was growing older. After searching online, Hsiao-Ching's parents contacted Sunshine Foundation. They received information and discussed options with the foundation's social worker, so Hsiao-Ching's parents were better equiped to make the decision of seeking treatment. That's when they learned this was not a regular birthmark that would fade away by itself, but instead was caused by vascular malformation, which required surgical treatment.
Hsiao-Ching began receiving regular treatment when she was five years old. Over four years, she underwent close to a dozen sclerotherapy and laser surgeries, enduring the pain of long-term treatment from a very young age. Hsiao-Ching was afraid every time she underwent surgery, but with the encouragement of her parents and sister, she gradually lost her fear. Doctors and nurses praised her for being very brave.
Hsiao-Ching was often stared at by strangers who would even directly ask questions about the mark on her face. When meeting other children for the first time, some of them would sometimes call her names. Whenever she feels sad, Hsiao-Ching will express her emotions through painting, because she says: "I feel very happy when I paint, and I am very happy to be able to see my works!"
Her painting "Going on an Adventure in a Hot Air Balloon" was even selected in 2021 to be featured in Sunshine's Foundation Little Sunshine Desk Calendar. Even though Hsiao-Ching is afraid of heights, she used vivid colors and lively brush strokes to depict the joy of flying in a hot air balloon with her family. Her painting also reveals the deep desire of children with a visible difference to break through the current situation, to be fearless, and not to care about the opinions of others.
Now Hsiao-Ching has learned to take the initiative to explain her condition to her new friends: "I have a hemangioma and a birthmark on my face. It was there at birth." She also wants to encourage other children with facial birthmarks: "Don't be afraid! Hurry up and get treatment."
Hsiao-Ching's mother said, in the process of accompanying Hsiao-Ching as she is growing, she and her husband often felt hesitant and frustrated, but their family gave the couple a lot of psychological support and was their strongest supporter. She also thanked the hospital’s medical team for always encouraging the children, providing quality treatment and always giving them hope. Hsiao-Ching's mother also thanked Sunshine for being there and providing them with assistance. This includes providing medical information about treatment and discussing options with parents at the beginning, financial aid during treatment, and scholarships for Hsiao-Ching to encourage her in her studies. She says: “Every time we're in contact with Sunshine, every consultation with the team is a form of care, and it makes us feel that the world is full of love and beauty."