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Patients Vascular Birthmarks

May is International Month of Awareness for Vascular Birthmarks

May is the INTERNATIONAL MONTH OF AWARENESS FOR VASCULAR BIRTHMARKS and May 15th is the official DAY OF AWARENESS (‘marked’ by a U.S. Congressional Resolution).

As you know, many babies are born with birthmarks. Maybe your child has a cute one on her cheek or tummy. While most these birthmarks will be nothing and in some cases, disappear, or fade and become less noticeable over time, some children will have a significant vascular birthmark that will require a specialist. For these children, approximately 40,000 in the U.S., parents are often left wondering what to do and who to turn to for help.

At the Hannah Storm Foundation, our mission is to raise awareness and be an advocate for parents and children who suffer from debilitating vascular birthmarks. We also raise funds to provide surgeries. To date, we’ve performed more than 30 procedures on children from around the world.

If you know someone affected by a vascular birthmark, the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation is asking people across the world to share their stories and help bring awareness and acceptance to those afflicted. This can be done by changing your profile picture, wearing a heart on your cheek, or using #PutOnYourBirthmark.

For more information on the Hannah Storm Foundation and how you can get involved please visit our website. And be sure to show your support for everyone suffering from vascular birthmarks on May 15th!

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Fundraising Patients

Before and After Pictures of Our Beautiful Children

One of the most heartwarming moments for any donor to a charitable foundation is seeing the results of their dollars in action. Whether the monies are used for building communities or saving children, everyone wants to know that they’ve been able to make a difference through their support.

For the Hannah Storm Foundation, all proceeds from our fundraising efforts are used for surgeries on children born with debilitating and disfiguring vascular birthmarks. To date, through our generous supporters, we have funded nearly 30 surgeries on children around the world. Dr. Milton Waner of the Vascular Birthmark Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City performs all surgeries on our patients. Oftentimes the families find the Hannah Storm Foundation through Dr. Waner.

There is no better way to show donors how their dollars have made a difference than through before and after photos of some of the sweet children who have benefited from their support.

Here are some of the beautiful children our generous donors have helped support through the years:

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Tingyi was the Hannah Storm Foundation’s first patient. Starting at the age of 2, he and his family traveled from China multiple times over the course of several years, beginning in 2010. To date, Tingyi has undergone 14 surgical procedures to reduce the redness caused by a Port Wine Stain birthmark on the left side of his face. Today, Tingyi is an active, thriving, healthy little boy.

Tobija Zabret

Tobija Zabret is from Kranj, Slovenia. The Hannah Storm Foundation was able to fund several surgical procedures for Tobija’s Port Wine Stain birthmark on the left side of his face. Dr. Milton Waner performed the surgery through an affiliation with the Center for Vascular Malformation in Children in Berlin, Germany.

Allison Sciaraffa

At the age of 7, Allison Sciaraffa, from Wareham, MA, came to the Hannah Storm Foundation for support in funding her last surgical procedure to remove the partially involuted hemangioma on her lower lip. Today, her birthmark is barely visible.

Sloan McGillis

Sloan McGillis came to the Hannah Storm Foundation in need of funding for surgery to minimize the size of the severe hemangioma and legion on her cheek. Thanks to the generous donors at our 2015 Celebrity Waiter Night fundraiser, to date she has undergone two procedures performed by Dr. Milton Waner at the Vascular Birthmark Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Sloan will return to New York this fall for additional procedures.

The Hannah Storm Foundation is so grateful for the ongoing support we receive from our donors and we know we couldn’t help change the lives of these beautiful children and their families without it. If you’d like to make a donation to help us continue all the great work we’ve been able to do please click here. To learn more about the Hannah Storm Foundation please visit our website.

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Connecting Through Sports

Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know that can make things happen. This is a favorite saying in the world of business networking. It also holds true for just about anything in life, especially if you’re truly determined to make something happen.

Lily and Hannah Storm FoundationThrough a chance conversation with his boss about his daughter, Lily, Fitz Ollison, Senior Director of Football Communications at the New Orleans Saints was led to the Hannah Storm Foundation. While speaking to his boss, Greg about little Lily’s “bruise bump” on her forehead, he suggested Fitz speak to Hannah Storm at ESPN about all the great work she and her foundation was doing for children with these conditions. Fitz and his wife, Kilian reached out and after several emails and phone calls, Lily and her mom and dad traveled to New York City for Dr. Milton Waner, the foremost expert in this field, to perform a fat injection procedure surgery to minimize the bruising and reduce the swelling on her forehead.

Connecting Through Sports

The following excerpt is from Kilian after their first meeting with Dr. Milton Waner at Lenox Hill Hospital and before her surgery:

“Today I was reminded of how grateful I am that Fitz works in the NFL. Today was a day where the perks of his job changed our lives and more importantly Lily’s life. For the last 9 months we’ve worried about the “bruise” or “bump” on Lily’s forehead. I’ve shrugged off the random comments from strangers asking if Lily fell down or bumped her head on something. I’ve prayed a lot and remained positive that there would be an answer. I prayed that we could fix her. We saw doctors and specialists and teams of doctors… some who weren’t sure what it was and some who thought it was a hematoma or a venous malformation. I just wanted an answer. I just wanted someone who could tell me with 100% certainty that they knew what the blue mark was on her forehead.

Then Fitz’s boss, Greg said you have to talk to Hannah Storm at ESPN-she can help you. She started a foundation that has brought awareness to hemangiomas and vascular anomalies and with her help Lily got to meet Dr. Milton Waner in New York City. He’s one of the best in the field and he diagnosed her with a RICH hemangioma. Today he told us that we have options. Finally, we have answers. We feel grateful and blessed that we got to meet Dr. Waner today and we are so encouraged that he can help her. You never know what your children are going to face in life, but I know I can’t do it all alone and I’m grateful for the help along the way.”

Update on Lily

After the first fat injection procedure.
After the first fat injection procedure.

Lily is now a very happy and active 1-year old and showing improvement from her fat injection procedure. There is still a slight indentation and the color is still there, and she will most likely need to have a touch up procedure possibly later this summer but things are moving in the right direction for Lily, Fitz and Kilian. We will continue to follow Lily’s journey here so please check back for updates. For more information about vascular anomalies, the Hannah Storm Foundation and how you can help, please visit our website.

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Meet Sloan McGillis

Sloan McGillisWhen Sloan McGillis’ picture was sent to the Hannah Storm Foundation’s offices for surgical consideration, we didn’t see, at first, the very large vascular tumor that was covering a good portion of her tiny face; we instantly saw her big, bright eyes and could immediately tell there was something very special about her. We instantly knew she would be our next patient.

Sloan’s story is very similar to so many other children who are born with vascular anomalies whereby parents are worried when their precious new child is born with this condition. They quickly seek the best treatment and for some they find the options are unaffordable and most insurance plans won’t cover the procedures. For others, doctors say the birthmark will fade or simply go away. For Sloan’s parents, they simply wouldn’t take no for an answer and were led to Dr. Milton Waner, the world’s foremost expert in vascular anomalies at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital. Knowing that the treatment options for Sloan would become a huge financial burden for the McGillis’, Dr. Waner turned to the Hannah Storm Foundation for help.

The Hannah Storm Foundation helps raise awareness and fund surgeries for children from around the world who suffer from debilitating and disfiguring vascular birthmarks. On an ongoing basis the foundation holds fundraising events and one of our most popular events is the Celebrity Waiter Night where Hannah Storm gathers her celebrity pals from the world of sports, media and entertainment to “serve” dinner to guests. As part of the live auction there is always a “Fund-a-Need” section where guests are able to donate money to directly fund surgeries for patients. Sloan is one of the many patients who the monies benefitted this past year.

Sloan and her mother, Jenny, traveled to New York City in January 2016 to receive her first surgery and came back in May for follow-up procedures.

Hannah Storm, Sloan and Jenny McGillis at American Girl
Hannah Storm, Sloan and Jenny McGillis at American Girl

We caught up with Sloan and her mother, Jenny after her second round of surgeries at the American Girl Doll store on Fifth Avenue. Sloan enjoyed a wonderful day including meeting Hannah and picking out her very own doll. We sat down with Sloan and her mother, Jenny to talk about their journey thus far.

“No words can ever express how grateful we are for the Hannah Storm Foundation. When Sloan was born we didn’t ever know how we were going to make her okay and thanks to Dr. Waner and the Hannah Storm Foundation we now know she is going to be perfect.”

Sloan likely has more surgeries ahead of her but so far all is going well. We look forward to sharing her journey here so please check back for more updates.

To learn more about Sloan’s condition and journey you can visit her Facebook page and to learn more about vascular birthmarks and how you can get involved please visit the Hannah Storm Foundation website.

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Kissed By An Angel

Welcome to Kissed By An Angel – the blog for the Hannah Storm Foundation. Here you will learn more about vascular anomalies and birthmarks, meet our patients, and share their journeys.

Our patient, Prince with Hannah StormCreated by award-winning television personality, Hannah Storm, the Hannah Storm Foundation helps raise awareness and fund surgeries for children born with disfiguring and debilitating vascular birthmarks. What are these? Many babies are born with birthmarks and maybe you’ve seen a child with a cute one on their cheek or tummy. While the majority of these birthmarks will be nothing, and in some cases disappear or fade and become less noticeable over time, some children will have a significant vascular birthmark that will require a specialist. For these children, approximately 40,000 in the U.S., parents are often left wondering what to do and who to turn to for help.

This is a cause near and dear to Hannah’s heart as she was born with port-wine stain birthmark over her eyelid and underneath her left eye. While producing a segment for CBS News on birthmarks Hannah met Dr. Milton Waner, the world-renowned expert in vascular anomalies. In this segment Hannah courageously took off her makeup on camera to reveal her birthmark. At that moment, the idea of the Hannah Storm Foundation was born.

Dr. Waner, Hannah and patient, Tingyi
Dr. Waner, Hannah and patient, Tingyi

Hannah has since teamed up with Dr. Waner and his staff at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and together they have funded more than 30 surgeries on children from around the world.

As a parent you want nothing but perfection and the best for your child. Meeting so many of these little patients you quickly learn to count your blessings daily. Hannah always tells the story that when her mother first told her about her birthmark she said, “This is where you were kissed by an angel before you were brought to me.” Luckily for so many of these children they have extra angels helping them thanks to people like Dr. Milton Waner – and Hannah Storm.

For more information on the Hannah Storm Foundation please visit the website. And feel free to submit your story for consideration here.