Meet Luna Fenner, the brave young fighter who serves as ongoing source of inspiration

Luna Tavares-Fenne, a 4-year-old girl from Florida, is in many ways like any other child her age. She’s a happy-go-lucky girl who loves laughing, eating, and bouncing around. However, Luna was born with a very rare skin condition called congenital melanocytic nevus, which has affected both her and her family.

Luna’s mother, Carol Fenner, was “shocked” when she gave birth to her daughter in 2019. After noticing a dark patch covering a large portion of her little girl’s face, she was stunned and afraid.

Luna was born with a black mark that covered most of her face, forming something that looked like a Batman mask.

“I’m used to it now, but then I was just shocked,” Carol told WPLG in 2019.

It’s not hard to understand why Carol was so shocked. In just a few days, the parents’ happiness over having a child had turned into extreme concern. She had no idea that her daughter would be born differently; her last ultrasound before the birth had revealed nothing abnormal. Moreover, doctors weren’t even sure what the dark patch was until four days after Luna was born. Fenner said Luna was hospitalized for six days after birth while doctors ran tests.

After a lot of research, Luna’s doctors concluded that the birthmark could pose a significant danger to Luna in the future. The risk of skin cancer was high, and so doctors recommended several operations. Carol really wanted to remove her daughter’s “Batman mask” – but at least six wearing surgeries would be needed. There was also another major problem: each surgery would cost around $40,000.

Carol began searching high and low for treatment. Naturally, it wasn’t an easy time for the family.

“We saw a lot of doctors. We went to Boston, Chicago, and New York trying to find a better result,” Carol said.

Carol aimed to have the surgery done before Luna started school, in order to avoid the possibility of her daughter being teased. Unfortunately, even at a young age, Luna and her family had to put up with comments from people who, for some reason, could not accept that she looked different.

Many parents in Carol’s situation might have hidden and avoided the public eye – but the brave mother decided to share Luna’s story and spread awareness about her daughter’s disease. She created an Instagram page where people could get an insight into the family’s everyday life.

As Luna’s story received international attention, doctors worldwide came to know about her. One such individual was a famous doctor in Russia. After hearing about Luna’s particular situation, surgeon-oncologist Dr. Pavel Borisovich Popov contacted Carol and offered to perform a treatment not available in the United States.

But the treatment, called photodynamic therapy, was costly, and so the family asked the public for help. Luna’s family created a fundraiser to help with the costs, collecting $70,000 from people who wanted to help the little girl.

“Everybody thinks I’m crazy to go to Russia, but I have done a lot of research and gained advice from several doctors and I really think that this is the best option for Luna right now,” Carol told SWNS in 2019.

For the last couple of years, Carol and Luna have been traveling to Russia to run tests and start her treatment. Despite the pandemic, the family has been able to travel to the clinic in Krasnodar. Thankfully, all the operations to date have been successful.

What’s more, Dr. Pavel Borisovich Popov is more than happy with the result – he believes that the risk of Luna getting cancer has decreased drastically.

“We only had six operations to remove the nevus and have succeeded in making it disappear,” Dr. Popov