Young Woman Covered in Birthmarks Has the Best Response for Her Bullies

ciera swaringenDue to a rare condition, 19-year-old Ciera Swaringen was born with mole-like birthmarks covering most of her body. In turn, she's been bullied and taunted for as long as she can remember. Still, the teen has come to terms with her condition and even found support through the Internet.


Most of us HAVEN'T heard of Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus. They're basically oversized moles that are usually present at birth. Only 1 in 500,000 people are believed to have CMN. It's caused by a mutated gene, and kids who have it are at increased risk of skin cancer.

Removing the birthmarks isn't an option. There are just too many.

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Because Ciera looks different, she's been bullied throughout her life. As she told the Daily Mail:

Teenage boys are usually the first ones to comment when they see me. They say things like, 'You look like you're dirty. Take a wash.'

Understandably, such comments used to get to Ciera. But the recent high school graduate said over time, she's learned to brush off the bullying. (Which we can imagine was not as easy as it sounds.)

What's helped? Her mom calling her moles "angel kisses." Her dad being quick to defend her when they're out in public. And living in a town, Rockwell, North Carolina, where the population's only around 600.


A photo posted by Cieraaa � (@c.swaringen) on

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"People in my town don't bat an eye when they see me now, as they know me," Ciera says. "But if I go somewhere new, it's not so easy."

Ciera chose to make her skin condition the focus of a project during her last year of high school. Doing so led her to discover online support groups run by a nonprofit called Nevus Outreach and reminded her "I'm not alone."

Realizing that obviously had an important impact to Ciera. And a pretty inspiring ripple effect.

As her story's been picked up by news outlets around the world, from Australia to New York, chances are extremely good that Ciera's words and pictures will help another kid with CMN understand that THEY'RE not alone -- or "need to take a wash" -- either.

Image via c.swaringen/Instagram

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