Ethan-Blake was born on September 12th 2015 with a birthmark covering the whole of his back from his shoulders to his bottom and around his sides. After a few days of worrying and wondering we met a paediatrician who was able to diagnose him with Congenital Melanocytic Naevi (CMN) and then at 18 months with neurocutanious melanosis.

Over the years Ethan-Blake has developed many satellite naevi in varying sizes and became very self conscious of the looks he got. This was made worse after receiving some hateful comment from older children while out one day. Over night he seemed to change from a happy out going 3-year-old who would do and wear whatever he wanted, to a very withdrawn child who would cover up completely and avoid strangers.

After many talks and much encouragement, we didn’t have much luck in rebuilding Ethan-Blake’s self-confidence. But in 2020, after attending the first Caring Matters Now online conference, things began to change. Ethan-Blake started to come out of his shell around family and friends but was still very self-conscious.

Then in May 2021 everything changed! As a result of attending the Caring Matters Now online conference and getting to see all the friends he had made the previous year, overnight, Ethan-Blake has become an extremely happy and content young boy. He was inspired by the pictures and experiences shared during the ‘HOW DO YOU C ME NOW? Behind-the-Scenes’ conference event. He was shocked that the children and adults who were photographed for the HOW DO YOU C ME NOW? campaign, could be so brave. Following this event, Ethan-Blake expressed a wish to be as brave as the photographed children – he wanted to show off his own special spots. So, we bought his own copy of the HOW DO YOU C ME NOW? photographic book and he loves looking through it every chance he gets.

Just a week after the conference I was amazed when Ethan-Blake announced one morning that he wanted to wear shorts to school. This is something he had never down before! He also wanted to take his book into school to share with his classmates, so they could understand there are many others like him and, that they were all beautiful!

As Ethan-Blake’s mum, I am extremely proud to see Ethan-Blake beginning to regain his self-confidence and starting to embrace his CMN. This is largely due to the work of Caring Matters Now and all the amazingly inspirational and brave members. My hope is that anyone else struggling like Ethan-Blake, can find the strength to overcome and show the world how to love everyone no matter how they look.