2009, TBOF launched the Touched by Olivia Vascular Birthmarks Clinical and Research Fellowship through Sydney Children’s Hospital. Through this Fellowship, Touched by Olivia is committed to funding 2 key dedicated experts for 3 years, including a paediatric dermatologist and researcher. This Fellowship aims to position the Hospital as a global centre of excellence in Vascular Birthmarks by publishing up to date information and connecting families whose children suffer from a vascular anomaly. With a commitment by the Foundation of more than $700,000 over the past 4 years, this Fellowship will most definitely help save lives.
Why is this Fellowship important? Vascular Birthmarks represent a group of diseases that, sadly and for reasons unknown, seem to be affecting more children each year. Until recent years there has been limited research into Vascular Birthmarks, which vary from the more common lesions such as infantile haemangiomas (the common birthmark) affecting 1 in 10 children, to some of the rarest such as lymphangiomas, which can be life threatening to infants if located near a vital structure such as the airway. In Olivia’s case, the lymphangioma proved fatal.