A British couple is desperate for their baby to have a large birthmark removed from her nose after being tormented by bullies who call her "Rudolph."
Richard and Marie Touhladjiev said strangers taunt little Tahlia, who is 1, in the street and point at her strawberry birthmark, known as a hemangioma.
Richard, 45, has become so heartbroken by the nasty comments he's concerned his daughter will be bullied at school.
Richard, from Rhyl, North Wales, said: "A gentleman behind kept on taunting her, saying ‘Hiya Rudolph’, in the doctors' surgery.
"It was absolutely disgusting that a grown man was calling Tahlia names because of a blemish on her face and it haunts me to this day.
“There have been more rude passing comments where people point out her nose in public and it’s quite frustrating as a parent because I want to protect my child to the max but I can’t react.
“People always ask what’s on her nose, as if she’s been eating a jam sandwich and got some on her face, but they don’t realize it’s a permanent, natural thing.
"It is still quite dominant on her nose so we do want it removed and go, to stop her getting name-called. Bullies at school in this day and age can be horrendous and we don't want her to go through that."
The tot is receiving treatment to help reduce the mark's size and color, but her parents want to share her story in a desperate bid to raise awareness.
"We are looking at what can be done to clear it," said Richard, who is a driving instructor.
"It’s so important for us to spread awareness about it because we don’t want other children to go through what we’ve experienced, where adults have called our baby names."
“As it’s grown and grown we have become a little bit weary that if it hasn’t gone when she gets older, what comments will she get from other children," he added.
Richard said he was bullied for his surname in school and knows "what it’s like."
"I feel that we do need to try and see if we can reduce it to a state where it’s faded to try and make her life a little bit easier," Richard said.
“That’s why we want to raise more awareness about strawberry birthmarks and let people know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of if your child has one. They’re still children who have feelings at the end of the day,” the dad said.
Richard and stay-at-home mum Marie first thought the pink mark on Tahlia’s nose was due to birth trauma, before it grew and was diagnosed as a hemangioma, commonly known as a strawberry birthmark.
Doctors prescribed the tot with beta-blockers, which lower the blood pressure to cut off the blood vessels to the birthmark and stop it from growing. However, Richard and Marie are still concerned that it will still be there in the future.
“With the past experiences we’ve had with comments, we don’t want our daughter going to school and getting picked on and singled out for having a prominent birthmark," Richard said.
“I’ve always known about birthmarks but not one that’s as deep and red as Tahlia’s. To us, Tahlia having the birthmark makes her extra special. But we just want to see what we can do about it to make it easier for when she’s older.”
Having three stepchildren together, Richard and Marie decided to try for a baby of their own shortly after getting married.
The couple was shocked when she fell pregnant, as Marie has PCOS, and Richard’s medication meant that his sperm count was low.
Marie, a trained accountant, also had a traumatic birth experience, during which she almost passed away three times, so it is important for them to share Tahlia’s story in hopes of helping others who receive backlash for their birthmark.
“She nearly died three times as a result of the C-section," Richard said.
The mom spent three days in intensive care but pulled through. However, during this period, she lost the early opportunity to bond with her daughter.
“So this is one of the reasons why we’re so passionate about raising awareness because of the experiences that we have gone through as parents," Richard said. “She really is our miracle baby."