BY NICOLAS FERNANDES
This is the heart-warming moment a girl born with a large purplish birthmark is surprised at school by a blogger with the same matching facial difference.
Naomi Elliott, nine, of Montague, California, USA, thought her mum was signing her out of school early for a doctor’s appointment when she was suddenly greeted by Crystal Hodges, 26, in the corridor.
The girl’s mother, Tiffany, 37, had been emailing the public figure back and forth for the past three years and asked if she could pay a visit to the fourth-grader while passing through the area on a road trip.
Crystal of Fresno, California, made headlines in two-years-ago after an internet troll turned her photo into a meme that mocked the ‘port wine stain’ on her left cheek.
Naomi, who had never spoken to her biggest role model before the surprise, lit up with joy as she walked towards her in the hallway of Montague Elementary School.
The two had lunch together and spoke about their journeys with the birth defect.
It was the first time the girl had met anyone with a vascular birthmark, which is caused by abnormal development of capillary blood vessels at birth.
Before they said goodbye, Naomi gave Crystal her favorite necklace.
Tiffany, a preschool teacher at Montague Elementary, said: “I knew it would be a very big moment in her life that will always be remembered. It was so good for my daughter to meet someone she looks up to.
“She is a big role model to her because of her strength and how she opens her heart to everyone.
“In the past few years, Crystal has reassured me that I’m on the right path in treating Naomi’s birthmark.
She has completely understood my concerns and questions and has even welcomed them.”
Crystal, who is also a motivational speaker, added: “When she saw me, her eyes lit up and her body language suddenly changed. She was very excited. It almost looked like she was going to cry.
“We talked so much and she seemed like she was having a lot of fun. She was very grateful.
“I know what a big deal it is for a little girl to give someone their favorite necklace. I must have really influenced her.”
The 26-year-old believes the mother and daughter’s journey will be simpler now that they’ve met an adult who has overcome difficulties because of the difference.
She hopes that the experience taught the fourth-grader that a birthmark shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying life.
Crystal said: “Being able to talk to someone who is older and has come out stronger can be very helpful for both the kid and the parent.
“I want girls like her to realize that a physical difference shouldn’t stop them from meeting a decent guy, traveling the world and having amazing experiences.”
When Crystal meets someone with the wine-colored spot, she feels an immediate connection because of all the things they have in common.
She even says that the bond is so strong that they feel like a part of her family.
The blogger said: “When you meet someone with a port wine stain, they instantly feel like family.
“Not too many people can relate to the constant stares and all the examinations and surgeries, so when I meet someone who goes through all of that it creates a very strong bond.”
While Naomi was able to experience this as a child, the motivational speaker didn’t meet another person with the same facial spot until three years ago.
Crystal believes it was very beneficial for the young girl to meet someone like her at such a young age.
She said: “People shouldn’t have to wait 23 years to meet another person who has a port wine stain.
“I hope she even has the opportunity to meet more people with this birthmark.”