Providing support and promoting respect for everyone with a visible difference

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Finley, a two year old boy with lymphangioma, which causes swelling in the lower half of his face, with his mother and family.

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People with a visible difference (a scar, mark or condition) often experience staring and hostile behaviour because of their appearance. Finley’s parents know this all too well.

Finley was born with a condition called lymphangioma. Lymphangiomas are non-cancerous, fluid-filled cysts that appear in lymphatic vessels. In Finley’s case, he has swelling in his face, which extends to his airways. This means he needs a tracheotomy to help him breathe.

His family found stares and questions from strangers about his appearance very distressing.

Before the support from Changing Faces, I would go into overdrive. If people even glanced at Finley, I would launch into a huge explanation about his condition and medical history. I’ve since learnt that I don’t owe anyone an explanation if I don’t feel like it.

Gemma, Finley’s mum


Finley’s story

“When Finley and I were out at our local petting farm, I spotted a girl, around eight years of age, staring at Finley. She started to follow us around relentlessly, gaping at Finley in his buggy. It became quite menacing to see her pull and contort her face to mimic his condition. She was also pointing at him and saying, ‘what’s wrong with his face?’

Watching her mum say nothing to her daughter or to me was hurtful. I ended up in tears, rushing out of the park and cutting a nice day short.”

Gemma attended one of our workshops and took part in our online support group.

It’s made me feel much more confident than I was before. We are able to live our lives as normally as possible and not hide ourselves away for fear of being stared at.

Gemma, mum to Finley

Working to eliminate discrimination

Through educating others, we aim to eliminate the discrimination faced by people with a visible difference.

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A two year-old boy with lymphangioma, which shows as swelling around the lower half of his face

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With your support, we can continue to provide vital wellbeing servicees and networks for families affected by visible difference

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Our campaigns

Browse our campaigns that raise awareness of visible difference and the issues people face.

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Advice and guidance

If you or someone you know has a visible difference, our guides could help.