Ciera Swaringen was born with Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus – basically, her skin is covered with moles and birthmarks. The nearly-impossible-to-pronounce condition comes in a variety of intensities, and Ciera’s is one of the most severe. It’s not a condition that can be hidden under long sleeves or a scarf. The condition spreads everywhere, and doesn’t care if a mole ends up in a highly visible place.
While Ciera was growing up, she received a lot of negative attention due to the fact that her condition is so rare. No one had seen anything like it. It made growing up very difficult when kids on the playground would taunt her, and children on the bus would call her names. The worst was when other children thought they might “catch it” just by being near her.
I was only young and it made me feel different to the other kids, like something was wrong with me,” she remembers sadly.
Her parents are the ones who saved her life, she admits. They were supportive of everything that she did, assuring her that her birthmarks were “angel kisses” and that she should always believe in herself. It didn’t matter what she looked like on the outside – what mattered was who she was on the inside.
While her birthmarks and moles are not dangerous, it is easier for them to become malignant if they are exposed to sunlight. She is able to go outside, but must limit her exposure to UV rays to keep them from becoming a serious health problem.
The moles and marks also can not be removed. Doctors say that while they could be removed, there are just too many. They will continue to spread as she grows older and will never stop. Her condition is permanent, but that hasn’t stopped her from proudly showing off the body that she was born with.
Everyone is born to look different, and we should all feel beautiful in our own skin.”
She is bravely sharing her condition with the world, hoping that maybe her pictures will inspire others who have the condition. By posting her story online, she has found a community online who share her condition and understand the struggles that accompany dealing with such a visible difference.
She now speaks to young people about self-acceptance and body image, a growing issue in a society that is more and more reliant on social media and physical appearance.
Her story is incredible and I hope that more people will be inspired by her incredible story!
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