RICHFIELD, N.C. – A 19-year-old North Carolina woman who was born with birthmarks covering her body is speaking out after enduring years of bullying.
The Mirror reported that Ciera Swaringen, of Rockwell, N.C., was born with mole-like birthmarks that spread from her head to her toes.
Swaringen has a rare condition which affects about one in 500,000 people and covers 70 percent of her body.
Bullies called Swaringen names because of her condition, including “spotty dog.” But Swaringen has learned to love the skin she’s in.
“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,” she said. “Everyone is born to look different, and we should all feel beautiful in our own skin.”
The condition is called Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus and it causes birthmarks to appear on her body.
The birthmarks do not pose any health risks, but doctors have said that removing them would not be an option because there are too many.
“I remember when I started school my mom told me that my birthmarks were angel kisses – and that really stuck with me.”
The young woman said she has learned to brush off any negative comments and finds encouragement talking to other people with the condition.
“Ciera is a beautiful young lady with a great personality,” her mother Julie said. “And I couldn’t be more proud of her- she is one of the strongest people I know.”