Denver toddler's reaction to stares, whispers about her port-wine stain goes viral

Posted at 2:24 PM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 00:50:56-04

DENVER -- When you have a child who is different, you wonder how they will handle stares and questions when you're not around.

Denver mother Kelly Wilson Bossley has twins. Lydia has a port-wine stain birthmark. Her brother, Nolan, does not.

Bossley said she was glad Lydia had a twin.

"She always going to have a friend," Bossley said. "Someone to stick up for her."

It turns out, Lydia may not need anyone to stick up for her.

Bossley said she's taught both Lydia, and Nolan, how to handle the questions and stares. People looking at the large, red birthmark covering part of Lydia's face.

A birthmark that looks worse, and includes bruising, every six weeks when Lydia gets a laser treatment.

"We’ve practiced the response," Bossley said. "If anybody asks, we say, 'It’s a birthmark, she’s ok.'"

"They [Lydia and Nolan] know how to respond and they’re comfortable with it," Bossley said.

But then "it" happened at pre-school. The staring. The whispering.

"Last week was the first week she went to school immediately following a treatment," Bossley said.

Bossley said Lydia's teacher had read the students a book about birthmarks when school started, but there were new kids at the school last week and Lydia was more bruised than normal.

"When she noticed everybody staring and whispering, out of curiosity, not being mean, instead of getting upset or wanting to come home, she walked over to her cubby and gave the book to her teacher to read," Bossley said.

"The" book is Sam's Birthmark. A book about a child with a birthmark. A book that teaches children to embrace their own differences and each other’s differences starting at an early age.

"When I saw that she was OK, and the teacher said 'yes,' she would read the book, I realized for the first time that she's going to be OK," Bossley said.

"It was a moment I had been worried about -- how she would react when students were curious," Bossley said.

"It was pretty amazing. [She's a] tough little gal with a lot more resilience than a lot of adults I know," Bossley said.

"I cried the entire way to work," Bossley said. "She's not even 3. She'll be 3 in December."

"Our family had been worried so much about it," Bossley said. "There may be things to worry about in the future, but she has shown her personality. If anyone is equipped to deal with adversity, it's Lydia."

Bossley wrote about the experience for the Facebook page, Love What Matters. Thanks to that post, thousands of people around the world have read about Lydia.

"It was a glimpse into her future," Bossley said. "She's a tough cookie."

Watch Denver7 at 10 for a full interview with Bossley. 


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