Humor was the name of the game during October 19th’s Comedy Night, held at the Guiding Star Knights of Columbus Hall in the Bronx, New York. The event was a fundraiser for the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation (VBF), an organization that helps children with vascular malformations, hemangiomas, tumor, or syndrome. The organization pairs families with the correct doctors for treatment and provides educational resources on vascular birthmarks.
Francesca Muscarella created this fundraiser due to the effect vascular birthmarks have had on her family. “I hold this fundraiser every year because my granddaughter was born with the vascular malformation and I want to bring awareness to as many people as I can,” she said. “This birth defect is not very well-known and when it happens in your family, you feel helpless.”
Muscarella said that the foundation helps families understand the condition and helps them get proper doctor care. Indeed, the VBF has successfully helped thousands of children and adults suffering from vascular birthmarks find treatment. The VBF has also sponsored significant research and have taught families and physicians alike about the diagnosis and treatment of vascular malformations and hemangiomas.
Since 1994, the VBF has been a leading organization on the treatment of vascular birthmarks. The origins of the VBF involve a mother’s own struggle with a vascular birthmark diagnosis. When her daughter was born and diagnosed with a vascular birthmark in 1994, Dr. Linda Rozell Shannon, the president and founder of the VBF, began researching the condition. In1995, Shannon partnered with Dr. Milton Waner at Arkansas Children’s Hospital after he successfully removed her daughter’s hemangioma in a three-hour out-patient surgery. The two wrote a book for parents on the condition and today, Dr. Waner is an internationally-known authority on vascular malformations and hemangiomas.
Muscarella said she got the word out about the Comedy Night “by sending invitations by mail and also a lot of emails and word of mouth.” The endeavor was highly successful. “I had 185 people and had to stop because the venue only held that many,” she said, “but next year I hope to get a bigger facility.”
Do you want to learn more about the VBF and see how you can give back? Go to the foundation’s website and read more about the diagnosis and the differences between vascular malformations and hemangiomas, treatment. You can also get involved in the VBF community’s discussion and give back to the organization by donating. You can also contact Muscarella at Multiplanfran@yahoo.com for additional information or to donate.