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A girl cruelly dubbed Rudolph after being born with a bright red blemish on her nose is now helping raise awareness for a birthmark charity.
Connie Lloyd’s parents were told her mark would fade over time, but as she got older it got larger and darker.
It was diagnosed as a benign tumour and removed when she was a toddler, leaving a scar.
Mum Zara Green said other kids still taunt her. But Connie, now 13, is using her experience to help others.
Zara, 34, said: “If by telling her story Connie can help just one child or family cope with facial disfigurement, that’ll be the best Christmas present ever.”
Connie started to experience breathing difficulties and had an operation to remove the tumour when she was two.
Zara said: “She was just a toddler when Connie first announced she wanted a nose just like mine. I hated that she already felt self- conscious about it.
“And as the birthmark was growing internally as well as externally, we worried for her health.”
The operation in March 2011 went smoothly and Connie was left with a small scar.
Zara, of Poole, Dorset, said: “As she’s grown up she has shown an incredibly mature attitude towards her scar. But kids can be cruel.
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“Although she no longer has her birthmark, the internet means her school friends can find photos online.
“Even now, bullies come up to her and shout ‘Rudolph’ in the school corridors. But Connie brushes off the cruel taunts. She owns her scar and is happy and confident just the way she is.”
The brave teenager wants to raise awareness of birthmarks and raise funds for Saving Faces, a charity dedicated to the reduction of facial injuries.
Zara said: “She wants everyone to feel equal and love the skin they’re in – no matter how scarred it may be.”
Families can find details of the charity at savingfaces.co.uk.
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