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A woman with a port wine stain that covers her face is shunning treatment after learning to love her 'gecko-like' appearance.
Shannon Stoner, 35, of McMinnville, Tennessee, suffers from birthmarks that cover around 80 per cent of her body.
Sturge-Weber - Syndrome - Blood - Vessels - Skin
She was born with Sturge-Weber Syndrome, which causes abnormal blood vessels to develop in the skin.
Growing up, children would cruelly call her 'gecko' and say she had 'Kool Aid on her face'.
Ms - Stoner - Treatment - Skin - Thickening
Ms Stoner started laser treatment to stop her birth-marked skin thickening at just 12 years old.
However, after enduring 15 sessions, she is keen to keep the therapy to a minimum because she does not like how it reduces her blemish.
Months - Doctors - Ms - Stoner - Hospital
At just two months old, doctors initially worried Ms Stoner was bruised while she was treated in hospital for pneumonia.
After the police were nearly called, Ms Stoner's paediatrician explained her birthmarks were normal and not a sign of abuse.
Speaking - Childhood - Ms - Stoner - 'I
Speaking of her childhood, Ms Stoner said: 'I was raised like any other kid, I was told from a young age my birthmarks were angels kisses and I was made special.'
Although Ms Stoner's family encouraged her to embrace her appearance, cruel comments from strangers wore her down.
Mum - Kool - Aid - Face - Birthmark
'A cashier once looked at me and said, "shame your mum couldn't have washed the Kool Aid off your face", my mum told her, "you know it's a birthmark, right?",' she said.
'One time a little girl kept pestering me and told me I looked like a gecko.'
Ms - Stoner
Although the bullying continued as Ms Stoner grew up, she believes it made her stronger.
'In my teen years I felt differently but I grew mentally,' she said.
Things - Birthmark
'There are so many things that are much worse than a birthmark.
'When I worked in retail I would deal with a lot of kids, they believed it was a rash...
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