Luna Tavares-Fenner was born in 2019 with a rare skin condition called congenital melanocytic nevus, which caused a dark patch to cover most of her face.
Her mother, Carol Fenner, was shocked when she gave birth to her daughter and did not know that the last ultrasound before birth revealed nothing abnormal. After researching, Luna’s doctors concluded that the birthmark could pose a significant danger to Luna in the future. There was also the risk of skin cancer, and so doctors recommended several operations.
Carol wanted to remove her daughter’s birthmark, but at least six surgeries would be needed, and each surgery would cost around $40,000. Luna’s family created a fundraiser to help with the costs, collecting $70,000 from people who wanted to help the little girl.
After Luna’s story received international attention, doctors worldwide came to know about her. One such individual was surgeon-oncologist Dr. Pavel Borisovich Popov from Russia. After hearing about Luna’s particular situation, he contacted Carol and offered to perform a treatment not available in the United States called photodynamic therapy.
Carol and Luna have been traveling to Russia for the last couple of years to run tests and start her treatment. Despite the pandemic, the family has been able to travel to the clinic in Krasnodar, and all the operations to date have been successful.