Matilda Callaghan: The Inspiring Journey of the Girl Embracing Polka Dots

In 2012, Rebecca Callaghan experienced a challenging pregnancy due to excessive fluid around the fetus. As a result, the doctors made the decision to induce labor earlier than expected.

Little Matilda’s condition remained unnoticed until about half an hour after her birth. To everyone’s surprise, she had a prominent blue mark on her face that extended down one side of her body. Initially mistaken for a bruise, the doctors soon realized their error.

Within just 30 minutes, the doctors informed Matilda’s parents that the mark was, in fact, a birthmark. However, two weeks after her birth, Matilda received a diagnosis of Sturge Weber’s syndrome, an extremely rare neurological skin disease that also causes paralysis, learning difficulties, and seizures.

Matilda’s health quickly deteriorated, leading her to be transferred to the Adler Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England. In a matter of days, her parents’ joy transformed into extreme concern. They were uncertain if they would ever see their daughter alive again. Matilda’s father shared his anguish with the Daily Mail, recounting the moment they had to watch her being taken away: “We couldn’t travel with her as she was so ill. As we stood watching her being taken away, we didn’t know if we were going to see her again. We’d been so excited at our baby’s arrival, now within a matter of hours we didn’t know whether we would even see her alive again.”

Adding to their worries, they discovered that Matilda had two holes in her heart. However, Matilda proved to be a resilient fighter, and despite the high risk, she survived the surgery. In addition, she began undergoing laser treatments to remove her distinctive birthmark, although it could take up to 16 years for it to disappear completely.

Matilda’s father, Paul, shared the challenges they faced with the Daily Mail in 2016: “She has treatment every couple of months, and the laser does make it look more red and angry, and her face is covered with blobs afterwards, which then gradually fade away again. People think we are bad parents – that we have somehow caused Matilda to look like she does.”

Despite enduring regular painful laser treatments, Matilda remained a joyful little girl. Unfortunately, the birthmark and the disease caused her to be nearly blind. Additionally, she experienced difficulty walking, although she managed to take a few steps using a special walking frame.

Matilda’s entire life has been a battle, yet she greets everyone she meets with a smile. Her father describes her as a determined little girl who insists on having things her way: “It’s either her way or no way at all!”

Every day, Matilda and her family have to face stares, insults, and even mockery. Her father expressed his frustration, saying, “They just see what is in front of them and jump to hurtful conclusions. I wish they could see past the birthmark and see what a wonderful little angel she is.”

Despite all the hardships she has endured, Matilda continues to smile at everyone she encounters. Her father proudly states, “We are unbelievably proud of Matilda, she is just amazing – we just live every day as a bonus.” At present, Matilda is eight years old. In June 2019, her family shared a recent photo of her in a wheelchair and launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for a new wheelchair. They aimed to collect $6,300 to help Matilda enjoy the activities she loves most, such as spending time outdoors and away from busy areas.


The crowdfunding page also mentioned the recent passing of Matilda’s grandfather. The family appealed for support in spreading Matilda’s story, hoping to garner assistance in providing the brave little girl with the new wheelchair she needs to continue living her life to the fullest.

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