Saving Esmay's smile

Salisbury Journal: Esmay Hurst with her mother Jade Esmay Hurst with her mother Jade

“WE want to save her precious little smile,” says the family of one-year-old Esmay Hurst.

The little girl has just been diagnosed with a rare vascular condition that means the right side of her face is swollen and can appear bruised.

Her parents face the agonising choice of whether to put her through surgery that may or may not work, or see how the bright and cheerful tot deals with her condition as she gets older.

Her mother Jade Hurst, who lives in Bulford with her husband and other children Chloe, five, Jake, four, and two-year-old Ellie- Louise, said: “She could have surgery to remove it, but it could potentially grow back.

“There is a possibility the blood vessels are entwined with her muscles and if so it could damage her ability to eat or smile – and we want to save the precious smile we have.”

Doctors first suspected something was wrong when Mrs Hurst took her daughter for her six-week check-up, but thought the problem was a strawberry birthmark under her skin.

When treatment didn’t help, further tests were done and Esmay was diagnosed with vascular malformation – a condition that affects just one in 100,000 people in the UK.

It’s even more unusual for the condition to affect the face and the lump will grow with Esmay as she gets older.

The parents say their situation has been made a lot worse by the attitudes of people who stare at their little girl when they are out, and they have even been accused of hurting her themselves.

“It is so rude and mortifying,”

said Mrs Hurst. “I don’t like taking her out because of the comments and people staring.

“I don’t mind if people just ask about it but not when she’s the subject of people pointing and looking and being mean.

“It’s so horrible – she’s just a little baby.”

Mrs Hurst is determined to raise awareness of Esmay’s condition and has set up a Facebook page.

“The first thing I thought when the doctor told me was ‘Why my little girl?’ It was a shock to the system. But then I thought about how many other people are in this situation. I don’t want any other family to go through it alone.”

Mrs Hurst is also planning to complete a skydive to raise money for the vascular department at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Esmay is likely to have surgery.

“She is such a special little girl,” said Mrs Hurst.

“No matter how many people poke and prod her she is still happy and not bothered by it.”

To find out more and to sponsor Mrs Hurst go to the Facebook page Esmay’s Smile.

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