'I'm so proud to be different and, at the end of the day, we all have something about us that's unusual, whether it's on the inside or the outside,' said Ciera. Picture: Ciera Dawn Swaringen / Facebook Source: Facebook
A NINETEEN-year-old girl born with an extremely rare skin condition that means her body is covered in hundreds of birthmarks has learned to love her individuality.
Ciera Swaringen has giant congenital melanocytic nevus, a condition which means large birthmarks/moles form on 70 per cent of her anatomy. The largest birthmark stretches from her lower thighs to her navel.
Swaringen, from the small town of Richfield, northeast of Charlotte, North Carolina, said she has had to endure years of bullying, cruel remarks and stares.
Nineteen-year-old Ciera's rare skin condition affects just one in 500,000 people and covers 70 per cent of her body. Picture: Ciera Dawn Swaringen / Facebook Source:Facebook
Bully me, I don't care ... Ciera Swaringen was born with a constellation of dark-coloured birthmarks and has had to live with bullying, cruel remarks and endless people staring at her. Picture: Ciera Dawn Swaringen / Facebook Source:Facebook
“One day I remember being on the school bus and hearing a young boy laugh at me and call me a ‘spotty dog,’” Ciera, a shoe shop assistant, told the Mirror.
“Teenage boys are usually the first ones to comment when they see me. They say things like, ‘You look like you’re dirty, take a wash.’
“Over time I’ve learnt to brush off negative comments (her mother called the birthmarks ‘angel kisses’) and remember that most people stare and say cruel things because they’re not used to seeing someone with my condition.”
Only about one in every 500,000 births are said to have the kind of giant nevus — large birthmarks — that Ciera does. One in every 50 to 100 births have small melanocytic nevus, according to Nevus Outreach.
Often birthmarks can be surgically removed but in Ciera’s case that is impossible due to the prominence of the giant congenital melanocytic nevus.
A you can see on her Facebook Page though Ciera does not let the condition or the snide comments bother her.
“I’m so proud to be different and, at the end of the day, we all have something about us that’s unusual, whether it’s on the inside or the outside,” said Ciera, the youngest of three girls.
“Everyone is born to look different, and we’re should all feel beautiful in our own skin.”
Her parents were told at bith that her giant birthmarks posed no health risks. However, she also has to take extra care in the sun, as she has higher chance of developing skin cancer.
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