Every parent-to-be wishes for their little bundle of joy to be born healthy and have a happy childhood. Unfortunately, Paul and Rebecca Callaghan weren’t that lucky.
Their daughter had experienced problems while in the womb and had to be delivered prematurely. Sadly, neither the doctors nor the parents were aware of the severity of the baby’s health condition until she was welcomed into the world.
Little Matilda Rose Callaghan has gone through so much during her life and she’s still struggling. But she’s one brave girl who has loving parents by her side.
The moment Matilda was born, doctors noticed her face was covered in dark blue and red marks. Initially, they thought those were just bruises she sustained during birth, but that wasn’t the case. Those marks were something way more serious and were not about to fade away.
During the first days of her life, Matilda had to undergo various surgeries. She even stopped breathing twice and medics had to revive her. Eventually, they learned that the marks on her face were a result of the baby’s Trachea Oesophageal Fistula (TOF) and Sturge Weber Syndrome. This syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by distinctive port-wine stains on the forehead, scalp, or around the eye caused by an overabundance of capillaries near the surface of the skin.
Sadly, having these conditions meant Matilda would experience glaucoma, seizures, weakness on the left side of her body and even learning disabilities.
In order for her birthmarks not to spread and affect the brain or other organs, they had to be treated with laser treatments.
The treatments that Matilda has to undergo until she’s 16 years old leave polka dot marks on her face. They fade away after around three weeks but since she receives laser treatments every two months, her face is most of the time covered in dots.
Whenever she’s out with her parents, strangers stare at her and make her and her parents feel uncomfortable mostly because they believe the marks are a result of beating and abuse.
The Callaghans are left heartbroken whenever people make fun of their daughter. They know that she’s way too young to be aware of her condition but fear that her self-confidence would be greatly affected as she grows older.
Matilda’s father wants people to know the truth behind his daughter appearance and says, “They just see what is in front of them and jump to hurtful conclusions. I wish they could see past the birthmark and see what a wonderful little angel she is.”
Matilda is unable to walk on her own and has difficulties communicating, but her parents do their best to provide her with the best life she can get. They love her to the moon and back and are there to fight her battle with her.
They share her story because they want people to be aware of the obstacles they are trying to overcome every single day.