CHANGING FACES. CHANGING LIVES.
Patricia Rankine is running 5K at Supernova Kelpies in aid of charity Changing Faces who supported her son Mathew in dealing with negative reactions to his facial birthmark and his decision to undergo surgery to remove it.
Now aged 10, Mathew’s birthmark became more prominent in his early years. Patricia explained “Whilst family and friends made no mention of his birthmark (as it’s part of who he is just like the colour of his eyes) unfortunately complete strangers would start to point it out asking what it was”.
Continual attention and negative reactions from strangers took it’s toll on Mathew who became very self-conscious and withdrawn from a lot of activities a typical young boy should be allowed to enjoy out with school.
Two years ago Mathew and his family reached out to Changing Faces who support people who have a scar, mark or condition which affects their appearance. Changing Faces goal is to create an enlightened society that fully values and accepts people who have a disfigurement.
One important support they provide is to fund a position based within Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Mathew received support from practitioner Orla through their Emotional Support Service, which helps children, young people and their families to build confidence and teach them techniques to deal with unwanted remarks and staring. “Orla came to our house to talk to Mathew and gave him confidence to deal with the negative reactions and talk through whether surgery was right for him and at the time he decided not to have surgery”.
This year Mathew chose to undergo surgery to remove his facial birthmark. “His decision to go ahead with surgery this year was really positive and on his terms and not as a result of feeling like he had to change for someone else” said Patricia.
Patricia is running in aid of Changing Faces to give something back to the charity that helped her son as a thank you for their support. “I wouldn’t say running is my favourite activity! I’ll be a challenge as I’ve lost a lot of fitness through illness and injury this year but I completed the Total Warrior in September and I’m looking forward to a “clean” event!”
To support Patricia’s fundraising for Changing Faces visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patriciarankine