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Amazing Kids! of the Month

Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!

Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things. We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.


Amazing Kid! of the Month for November, 2008:
Amazing Young Birthmark Awareness Activist, Evan Ducker; Kingston, New York

Amazing Evan, age 14, with the characters in his book, Buddy Booby's Birthmark
Amazing Kid! of the Month, November, 2008:  Evan Ducker, age 14; Amazing Birthmark Awareness Activist

Quotes of the Month

“Because I know what it’s like, I would tell kids who may have experienced discrimination that they shouldn’t focus on what other people say. Most of the time, people say rude things out of ignorance or without thinking.

”Focus on your good qualities and all the things you have to offer others---like how smart or athletic or creative or funny you are.”

Evan Ducker, Age 14,
Amazing Birthmark Awareness Activist and
Author,
Buddy Booby’s Birthmark


Our November 2008 Amazing Kid! of the Month:

Although one in ten babies are born with some type of birthmark, most people do not know much about birthmarks. As a result, people who have noticeable birthmarks are sadly often the brunt of cruel and unthinking remarks and treatment by others.

Our November Amazing Kid! of the Month knows firsthand about how insensitive some people can be towards kids like him. Fourteen year old Evan Ducker was born with a birthmark on his face and has faced cruel remarks and discrimination because of it.

He wanted to do something to change that, not only for himself, but to help others like him who have faced similar cruel treatment. As a result, he has made it his mission to create awareness and educate others about birthmarks. Along with his amazing and supportive mom, he wrote a children’s book called Buddy Booby's Birthmark to help children affected by birthmarks.

Read more about Evan below and be inspired to help him spread awareness, sensitivity and tolerance for others different from ourselves!

Don't forget: If you, or a young person (or persons!) you know, has an amazing project you are involved in, or a special skill, talent or ability you want to tell the world about, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it! Simply complete our Amazing Kids! of the Month award online nomination form, visit our AKOM nomination information page (http://www.amazing-kids.org/nomination.htm#nomination) or email us!


Table of Contents

    buttonMeet Amazing Evan

    buttonBuddy Booby’s Birthmark

    buttonAmazing Impact of Evan’s Book

    buttonEvan's Amazing Dreams for the Future

    buttonRelated Links


    Meet Amazing Evan

    Amazing Evan at a reading of his book at a Barnes and Noble
    Amazing Kid! of the Month, November, 2008:  Evan Ducker, age 14; Amazing Birthmark Awareness Activist

    Have you ever been treated differently by others just because you were not like them? Or have you ever met someone who looked different and you didn't know how to react?

    If you answered "yes," then this story is for you.

    14-year-old Evan Ducker of Kingston, New York, was born with a birthmark on his face called a port-wine stain birthmark. Even though birthmarks are common, people are often ignorant about them. Some people thought that Evan's rash was a bruise from a fight, while others didn’t want their kids to play with him because they thought the birthmark was poison ivy or a contagious rash.

    “They were always coming up to me and asking, 'What happened to your face?' Sometimes people would be pretty rude. They didn’t think about how their comments might affect me or my family,” Evan says.

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    Buddy Booby's Birthmark

    cover of Buddy Booby's Birthmark, a book by Amazing Kid! of the Month, November, 2008:  Evan Ducker, age 14; Amazing Birthmark Awareness Activist
    Cover of Evan's book which teaches kids about birthmark awareness

    Evan was frustrated with all the fear, ignorance, and misconceptions that existed about birthmarks. He wanted to change that.

    With the help of his mother, Evan decided to create a children’s book featuring a young bird with a birthmark, a red-footed booby, as his main character who experiences discrimination and cruel remarks much the same way Evan and others with birthmarks have throughout their lives.

    Amazing Kid! of the Month, November, 2008:  Evan Ducker, age 14; Amazing Birthmark Awareness Activist at a school visit

     

     

     

     

    Amazing Kid! of the Month, November 2008: Evan Ducker, age 14:  Amazing Young Birthmark Awarenss Activist at a book reading
    Evan at a reading of his book at a Barnes and Noble

    Evan at one of his many school appearances

    Inspired both by his real-life experiences and his love of animals, the book is titled Buddy Booby’s Birthmark. “I wanted my story to teach kids about endangered species, which are one of my passions -- and also about what it’s like to live with a birthmark.” And as it turned out, other kids with birthmarks were looking for a book they could relate to too!

    Evan's main character in his book, Buddy, is a Red-Footed Booby bird from the Galapagos Islands. Interestingly, these real-life birds have red feet because of a vascular condition, similar to a human birthmark -- so they are the closest animal representatives to humans with birthmarks. But instead of having the red vascular marks on his feet as most Red-Footed Booby birds, Buddy's birthmark is on his face. You can learn many more facts about Red-Footed Booby birds and some of the endangered animals of the Galapagos, a subject close to Evan's heart, in Evan book.

    Evan sent a copy of his story to Hannah Storm, a TV journalist and ESPN anchor, who has a facial port-wine stain like him. She liked it so much, she wrote the foreword for the final book. She also interviewed Evan for a segment on the CBS Early Show. That segment led to more interviews for newspapers and TV stations, including CNN.

    Evan and Hannah Storm after Evan's interview on CBS's Early Show
    Amazing Kid! of the Month, November, 2008:  Evan Ducker, age 14; Amazing Birthmark Awareness Activist pictured with Hannah Storm, former CBS Early Show co-host

    Hannah Storm first revealed the fact that she had a port-wine stain under her left eye on a 2004 segment when she was a co-host on the CBS Early show. You can read more about the serious physiologicial affects which port-wine stains can have on people who have them in an article featured in USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/spotlighthealth/2004-03-16-storm_x.htm

     

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    Amazing Impact of Evan's Book

    Amazing Kid! of the Month, Evan  Ducker, age 14, Amazing Young Birthmark Awareness Activist with Dr. Milton Waner, one of the world's most renowned vascular surgeons

    Evan with Dr. Milton Waner, a world- renowned vascular surgeon; Dr. Waner wrote a
     glowing review of Evan's book, and is a great advocate for children with birthmarks

    Doctors from as far away as Australia, Germany, England, Canada, and Singapore started buying copies of Evan's book for their patients and recommending it to children’s hospitals and counselors. Teachers across the world used the book to teach their students about tolerance.

    “A lot of publishers rejected my book and said nobody would be interested in a character with a birthmark. But I didn’t want to give up,” says Evan. “Now I have thousands of letters from people all over the world, thanking me for not giving up and saying my story made a difference in their kid’s life. That’s a really great feeling,” Evan adds.

    The response to Evan's book inspired the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation (VBF) to launch the first-ever global reading initiative for birthmark awareness and tolerance in schools. The “International Buddy Booby’s Birthmark Read-Along for Tolerance and Awareness” is now scheduled annually on May 15th. This year, thousands of children from nearly 100 schools in 8 countries (including Australia, Germany, Ireland, Great Britain, Canada, Panama, Malta, and the U.S.) simultaneously read and discussed Buddy Booby’s Birthmark. The VBF also named the book’s main character-- Buddy, the red-footed booby bird-- as their official global mascot for birthmark awareness.

    You can sign your school up to participate in the 2009 International Read-Along for Tolerance and Awareness at: www.buddyboobysbirthmark.com.

    “I started getting invitations to speak at medical conferences and schools to share my story and my experiences. Over the last year or so, I’ve spoken to thousands of kids in public and private schools all over New York State. I‘m surprised at how many kids think a birthmark is 'cancerous' or 'contagious,'” he remarks.

    Amazing Kid! of the Month, November, 2008:  Evan Ducker, age 14, Amazing Young Birthmark Awareness Activist, at a national birthmark conference
    Evan appearing at a national birthmark conference

    Amazing Evan was invited to a national birthmark conference (attended by vascular surgeons and physicians all over the country and families coping with birthmarks) in Boston, Massachussetts, where he made a presentation, and was asked to do a reading of his book and a signing for doctors all over the U.S. 

    He has been invited to attend another conference this month in Manhattan as well, where he will be presenting his very first donation check (from sales of his book) to the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation (VBF). Way to go, Evan! He had previously been scheduled for a surgery this month, but Evan’s family postponed his surgery until December so he could attend this very important event.

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    Evan's Amazing Dreams for the Future

    There are a lot of different types of birthmarks and they affect people from every religion, race, and nationality. Some of the birthmarks like Evan's don’t ever fade or disappear. But because his birthmark can affect his eyesight, he has to get laser surgeries a few times a year. The surgery is expensive and Evan has to travel far away from his house to get to the hospital.

    Evan understands that millions of other families struggle to get treatments and to find the right doctors who specialize in vascular birthmarks. To help them, he decided to donate a portion of his book’s proceeds to the international Vascular Birthmarks Foundation (VBF).

    “My dream is to raise $100,000 for both the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation and endangered species through proceeds from Buddy Booby’s Birthmark book sales and a series of Ty Beanie Babies or other similar plush toys (based on the Galapagos Island characters featured in the book.),” Evan explains.

    Evan hopes that, one day, every school library in the world will have Buddy Booby’s Birthmark available to children - so birthmarks won‘t continue being surrounded by superstitions and negative stigmas. Evan has received many requests to have his book translated into other languages (including Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Chinese and even Danish) and he wishes that one day an international publisher will help him do that.

    “I also dream of my annual International Read-Along for Tolerance and Awareness growing by tens of thousands of schools all over the world; with scholarships and awards to schools and individuals showing exemplary tolerance initiatives. I dream of ‘Buddy the red-footed booby bird’ becoming a universal symbol of tolerance for children everywhere,” he adds.

    He considers his family- his mom, dad and grandma- to be his biggest mentors for their unwavering support. Another of his most influential role models is the late Steve Irwin for instilling a love of animals in him. Evan also really admires Hannah Storm:

    “She never let her birthmark prevent her from becoming a TV personality. And she believed in my story and my message, even before she met me or knew how the final book would turn out,” he explains.

    When asked what message he would like to share with others, especially those children who have faced discrimination or intolerance in their lives:

    “I would tell kids who may have been discriminated against to focus on your good qualities and all the things you have to offer others---like how smart or athletic or creative or funny you are. No one can take away your talents or the things you are really good at. Be proud of yourself and be who you are. If some people still aren‘t nice, just don‘t be friends with them. You can’t be friends with everybody, but you can still make a lot of good friends who have the same interests and like you for who you are.

    " If you’re a good person with a lot to offer, most people will see that and want to be around you. The ones who won’t even give you a chance are really missing out,” he says.

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    Related Links

    Visit Evan’s website and sign your school up for the 2009 International Read-Along for Tolerance and Awareness at: www.buddyboobysbirthmark.com.

    Email Evan Ducker at: info@buddyboobysbirthmark.com Questions about birthmarks or about Buddy Booby's Birthmark book? Email Evan at: info@buddyboobysbirthmark.com.

    Watch Hannah Storm's interview with Evan Ducker at: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=2324987nWatch Hannah Storm’s interview with Evan and her report on birthmarks: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=2324987n

    Watch Evan's appearance on CNN at: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=2324987nWatch Evan’s appearance on CNN:  http://edition.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/conditions/04/02/hm.birthmarks/index.html

    Vascular Birthmarks Foundation websiteLearn more about Vascular Birthmarks Foundation by visiting their website at: www.birthmark.org.

    www.LoveYourMark.com websiteKnow anyone with a birthmark or a scar, (or anyone else for that matter!), who could use some encouragement? Visit this wonderful, uplifting website, www.LoveYourMark.com, founded by a lovely lady named Beverley Sky in England, a life coach and mentor who has a facial birthmark. Be sure to check out her "Tips" in her Resources page on being different and happy!

    Read an informative article about port-wine stains on the USA Today websiteRead an informative article about port-wine stains on the USA Today website: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/spotlighthealth/2004-03-16-storm_x.htm


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A Special Message from Amazing Kids! for all you kids:

It's no secret...every person has an "amazing-ness" inside of them, just waiting to be discovered. (Sometimes we just need a little help in finding out what that "amazing-ness" is!)

If you are doing some amazing things too, we want to hear about it! Send us your stories about your amazing accomplishments, so we can tell the world just how amazing you are! We are always looking for new stories. And don't be shy! We'd love to hear from you!



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