Matilda Callaghan’s story – the little girl who was covered in polka dots

Rebecca Callaghan’s pregnancy in 2012 was difficult, and doctors decided to induce labor early due to excess fluid around the fetus.

Nobody realized there was something wrong with Matilda until about a half-hour after she was born.


She was born with a large blue mark on her face that extended down one side of her body. Doctors initially thought it was just a bruise, but soon realized they had made a huge mistake.

After only 30 minutes, the doctors informed the parents that it was a birthmark.


Matilda was diagnosed with Sturge Weber’s syndrome two weeks after her birth, a very rare neurological skin disease that also causes paralysis, learning difficulties, and seizures.

Matilda fell ill quickly and was taken to the Adler Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England.

In a matter of days, the parents’ joy had turned to extreme concern. They didn’t know if they’d ever see their daughter again.

“Because she was so ill, we couldn’t travel with her.” We didn’t know if we’d see her again as we stood there watching her be taken away. “We’d been so excited about our baby’s arrival, and now we didn’t know if we’d ever see her alive again,” her father told the Daily Mail.


On top of that, they discovered Matilda had two holes in her heart.

But she was a fighter, and despite the fact that she had a slim chance of survival, she made it through surgery.

Matilda also started laser treatment to get rid of her unusual birthmark. However, it could take up to 16 years to completely disappear.

“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,” Matilda’s father Paul told The Daily Mail in 2016, adding: “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.”

Matilda was a happy little girl despite having to endure painful laser treatments on a regular basis.

Many people, however, were drawn to Matilda and her birthmark. People even questioned Paul and Rebecca about leaving their daughter too close to a radiator and allowing her to get burned.

Matilda’s father, Paul, has stated,  “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.”

Aside from the birthmark on her face, the disease has rendered Matilda nearly blind.

She, too, is unable to walk, but she has been able to take a few steps thanks to a special walking frame.

Matilda’s entire life has been a struggle, but she always has a smile for everyone she meets. Her father describes her as a headstrong little girl: “It’s either her way or no way at all!”

Every day, the family is subjected to stares, insults, and outright mockery.

“Despite everything she has been through, she has a smile for everyone. She’s doing fantastically well,” her father said.

“We are unbelievably proud of Matilda, she is just amazing–we just live every day as a bonus.”

Matilda is now eight years old. The family appeared to have posted a recent photo of the girl in her wheelchair in June 2019.


The crowdfunding page aimed to raise $6,300 to help fund a new wheelchair.

”We are fundraising to provide her with new chair so that she may continue to do the thing she loves the most, spending time outside and away from riads snd crowds,” the page states.

According to the page, the child’s grandfather died recently.