When Becky Prosser poses for a photo these days, her pretty face and beaming smile light up the room. It is heartwarming sight considering the desperate weeks and months that followed her birth. Becky, who is now seven, was born with a tiny red blotch on her forehead which nurses dismissed as a pressure mark.
Becky, 7, is overjoyed after the surgery which removed the birthmark covering half her face
But it soon developed into an angry red stain which spread across half her face within six weeks, threatening her eyesight and preventing her from feeding.
Becky's parents Debbie, a 36-yearold property manager, and Darren, 39, a supermarket deputy manager, were distraught.
"It was as though an alien being was taking her over," said Mrs. Prosser at the family home in Flitwick, Bedfordshire.
"I felt so helpless just watching this thing destroying my baby's face."
Doctors diagnosed hemangioma, an abnormal build-up of blood vessels in the skin. The congenital condition typically appears as a small benign birthmark but in rare cases can spread aggressively.
The Prossers were referred to a specialist laser clinic at Bedford Hospital where experts said it was the worst case they had seen.
The birthmark threatened Becky's eyesight and ability to feed
Becky was put straight on a course of intravenous steroids which controlled-the swelling and saved her sight. The first of five laser operations was carried out a few days after the course of drugs was begun.
Mrs. Prosser said: "You don't expect to see your baby black and blue, smelling of burnt flesh. My heart was breaking that she had to suffer so much."
After 18 months of treatment, the growth was finally eliminated.
The only reminder of Becky's ordeal now is a slight discoloration of the skin and the glasses she wears to correct the sight in her left eye.
"When I look back at the desperate times we went through I can't believe things have turned out so well," said her mother. "I want other families in a similar situation to know there is light at the end of the tunnel."