‘Stop stigma over looks’

Changing Faces charity opens its doors at The Circle on Rockinham Lane in Sheffield who support people with facial disfigurement. From left chief executive James Partridge, supporter Jono Lancaster and Graham Millar, regional manager
Changing Faces charity opens its doors at The Circle on Rockinham Lane in Sheffield who support people with facial disfigurement. From left chief executive James Partridge, supporter Jono Lancaster and Graham Millar, regional manager

Little smiler Hallie Davidson is an ‘outgoing and personable’ toddler who loves to meet new people.

And these are qualities her mum Rachael hopes will help her overcome having a disfigurement when she grows up.

Hallie Davidson. Mum Rachael is backing the opening of a new health charity in Sheffield

Hallie Davidson. Mum Rachael is backing the opening of a new health charity in Sheffield

Hallie, aged 14 months, has a port wine stain birthmark on most of her face as well as parts of her body and is one of thousands of people who could benefit from a new Changing Faces centre in Sheffield.

Her birthmark is one symptom of the rare condition Sturge-Weber Syndrome, where an extra layer of blood vessels cover the brain, and she also has epilepsy as a result.

Rachael said: “It doesn’t bother me when children ask and when people look at Hallie and stare - it’s human nature.

“It’s the comments that annoy me from people who say ‘oh dear’.I think when she’s older if people say that it won’t be very nice.

“We have had a few people who ask if she is hot, with this weather I have been really self conscious about people thinking I’ve not been looking after her because some people will mistake it for sunburn.”

Rachael, of Wadsley, backs the Changing Faces centre and hopes it will help transform attitudes to disfigurement.

She added: “If in future people like Hallie were pictured in catalogues and on TV, not just for articles about disfigurement, then people wouldn’t think there was so much of a stigma.

“I hope the centre can help put it in people’s faces.

“I’d say to people, if you see someone that is slightly different, don’t judge by the way they look or behave.

“Give them a smile and don’t try to avoid them.”