A mother who previously faced heavy criticism after using laser treatment on a large birthmark on her baby’s face has defended her controversial choice – and revealed her son went six weeks without a seizure.
Brooke Atkins, 34, from Gold Coast, Queensland, noticed that her second child, a boy called Kingsley, now 22 months old, was born with a large port-colored birthmark (PWS) covering half of his his face.
When stay-at-home mum Brooke and her partner Kewene Wallace, 28, decided to get laser branded when Kingsley was around six months old, she was branded a “monster” by cruel online trolls.
Although the marks are generally harmless, if they cover the eye they can lead to both glaucoma and Sturge Weber syndrome, which causes seizures.
Kingsley was diagnosed with both, but laser treatment to lighten and improve the overall skin of the birthmark helped greatly, reducing the risk of further complications for the little one.
Baby Kingsley (pictured before having his birthmark laser removed) was diagnosed with glaucoma and Sturge Weber syndrome, which causes seizures.
Now aged 22 months (photo), the youngster has gone six weeks without seizures.
Mother Brooke (pictured) was heavily criticized after using the treatment on Kingsley (pictured) – but she says her health has improved as a result
The decision to have laser treatment last year was the right one, according to mother Brook (pictured with Kingsley), who says her son is “doing really well.”
In a new milestone, his mother revealed he recently went six weeks without seizures – the longest period since his seizures began in October 2022.
With her son in good health, the mother does not regret having continued the treatment.
“Kinglsey is doing great,” Brooke said.
“He had another laser treatment two months ago – his first treatment under general anesthetic, as he is too big and too conscious to have treatments now.
“His face responded greatly to the laser and we have been seizure-free for five weeks.”
“He also just had his third surgery for his glaucoma, which so far appears to have been a success.”
Despite the backlash she received online after sharing Kingsley’s story, Brooke defended her decision.
She said: “I think having something online will unfortunately attract criticism.”
According to Brooke, even though the treatment helped her son, spreading information about it tends to attract critical comments.
When baby Kingsley was born (pictured), the mark was barely visible, but quickly became more visible.
Despite his difficult times, baby Kingsley (pictured during his treatment) was described as a happy and sweet baby.
According to his mother Brooke, people have even called laser treatment “abuse” – despite its medical benefits.
“(Recently) we got all these negative comments again from people who didn’t understand why we used the laser.
“(They said) things like ‘this is horrible, this is abuse’, ‘wow, some people don’t deserve children and it’s so sad that they don’t love them the way they are ”, and “vanity is bad”.
“It doesn’t bother me like it used to.
“However, it makes me angry that they don’t bother to learn about port wine birthmarks and jump to these conclusions.”
“I do my best to explain to them why we do laser treatment at such a young age.
Despite his health issues, baby Kingsley (pictured here with his sister Armani) is “the happiest, most loving, sweetest boy you’ll ever meet,” according to his mother Brooke.
Mum-of-two Brooke (pictured with her kids) says if you don’t have anything nice to say, it’s best to refrain from saying anything.
Brooke and her partner Kewene Wallace (pictured, far left) said the decision to use the laser was ‘difficult’
However, parents say, when asked about port treatment, they emphasize that “it will give him the best chance of not adding to his long list of medical problems he already has.”
In an effort to help educate other parents, Brooke shares updates on Kingsley’s treatments with around 50,000 online followers.
“I tell them this will give him the best chance of not adding to his long list of medical problems that he already has.”
“And if they respond rudely to that, I try my best not to tell them what I really think, but sometimes it’s hard.
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Brooke and her partner, Kewene Wallace, 28 – with whom she shares three-year-old daughter Amarni – made the difficult decision to try the laser treatment in May 2022.
Last year she said: “The only way to treat a port wine stain is with laser treatments and the most effective laser is called a pulsed dye laser.
What is a port wine birthmark?
A port wine stain is a birthmark caused by the overdevelopment of blood vessels under the skin.
The change in blood vessels is caused by a genetic mutation that occurs before a child is born and will persist for the rest of a person’s life – although its severity differs from person to person.
Port wine stains start as a flat red or purple mark and, over time, can become more rounded, larger, and darker in color.
They can appear anywhere on the body, but 65 percent of them appear on a person’s head or neck.
Around three in 1,000 babies have a port wine stain and they are more common in girls than boys, although the reason is not known.
Treatment usually involves laser treatment to remove some of the dark color of the mark or camouflage the discoloration using a special type of makeup.
“When he was born we were referred to the Dermatology and Vascular Department at Queensland Children’s Hospital, where they organized the first treatment and explained in more detail why the laser would be important.
“The goal of laser treatments is not to ‘remove’ the birthmark, but rather to keep the skin healthy, to prevent further damage to the area.”
Treatment will continue to be needed once or twice a year for maintenance.
Brooke will continue to update her 46,000 followers and share Kingsley’s progress as he continues to thrive.
She added: “He’s the happiest, most loving, sweetest boy you’ll ever meet!”