This is the first charity on Bellissima Kids and one that is very close to our hearts. When our darling little first born, Oona was a mere 2 weeks old, we noticed what looked like a scratch under her eye. In three weeks, this mark grew like a monster. Her pediatrician was on vacation, so I frantically did some research and realized it was a Strawberry Hemangioma, a type of birth mark. I remember breastfeeding with one arm while desperately surfing the internet to find help. All the specialists wanted us to wait months to be seen but I knew this needed immediate care. By some dumb luck or providence, I called a prominent OB-GYN that I know and asked him if he knew where I could take her. Turned out he knew a Dr. Waner, a world renowned pioneer in successful treatments for hemangiomas and vascular anomalies – they were affiliated with the same hospital! He got us an appointment with Dr. Waner the next day – his day off. When Dr. Waner saw the hemangioma, he told me that “it must be treated immediately”, booked Oona into St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital and removed it by laser surgery two hours later. Dr. Waner ‘s deep love of children is palpable and he managed to put two sleep deprived, desperate parents at ease with his light heartedness and kindness.
When we think of the road that we could have gone down with Oona of probable blindness in that eye, disfigurement and/or scarring trying to remove a large hemangioma, I still shudder and start to tear up. If you go on his website, you will be in awe and in tears yourself at the inspiring stories. We love you Dr. Waner.
Hemangiomas are not uncommon and can be fatal. Some of the more serious hemangiomas grow so large, they grow their own arteries and can cause heart failure. This is a very interesting article on CBS about Dr. Waner. He donates a large percentage of his surgeries to those who cannot afford surgery, and is committed to reaching more children in need. If you would like to get involved and donate, you can do so on this link. Also, you can redeem your American Express Membership Rewards points for a donation! For every 1,000 points you redeem, they receive $10.00. Sounds like a deal to me!