3-year-old girl has tumor on lip removed in SW Miami-Dade

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A young girl born with a birthmark on her lip has gone through a successful surgery that will change her life.

Brianna Brewer is a fun-loving 3-year-old girl from Columbus, Ohio. However, Brewer was afflicted with a vascular birthmark above her lip.

“Two weeks after she was born, we noticed a little faint pink line on the inside of her lip, and I thought one of her brothers had smacked her or something when I wasn’t looking,” said Brewer’s mother, Holliana Lockhart.

Brewer went to see a specialist who diagnosed the birthmark as a tumor. Doctors said surgery was not an option until it started to shrink. However, the mark continued to grow — getting so large, it affected her development and impaired her speech.

“I was worried about her well-being,” said Lockhart. “People are cruel. We got beyond the normal types of stares. We would get people coming up and say, ‘Oh, she’s a beautiful child if it wasn’t for her lip.'”

That’s where the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation stepped in. The founder of the VBF read about Brewer’s story on Facebook and reached out to her family.

“We were struggling with Columbus wanting to have the surgery, but up there, they kept saying it was too invasive,” said Lockhart. “They were afraid she would bleed to death. But she said she would get it done for us, take care of everything.”

The organization connected the Brewer family with Dr. Chad Perlyn at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Wednesday, Brewer went into surgery with Perlyn as the 100,000th child the VBF has helped.

“We had to go inside and open the lip and take out the tumor, then reconstruct the lip to give her a normal appearing face,” Perlyn said.

Doctors have Brewer on a soft foods diet until her swelling goes down. They said her lip will look perfect in a couple of weeks.

“Her outlook looks great,” Perlyn said. “She’s gonna have a bright happy future, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

Brewer’s family was beyond grateful for the surgery. “I’m looking forward to seeing what she can do, what she can do for the world,” Lockhart said. “This experience has changed us all, so I can’t imagine what she’s gonna do with her life to change someone else’s.”

The Brewers hope their success story can help convince Columbus doctors that the surgery is not too dangerous.

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