In May 1998, Lynette Renner delivered her daughter Riley five weeks premature. The labor went smoothly, but when Riley came out, the doctors noticed a small mark on her nose. Lynette didn’t think much of it. A couple weeks later, Lynette noticed Riley’s nose was getting bigger and redder.
Riley was diagnosed with hemangioma, a group of densely packed but benign blood vessels. Riley’s nose became the size of a small ball, then grew and started hanging over her upper lip — making her look like a real-life Pinocchio.
In many cases, hemangioma shrinks and disappears over time, but Riley’s case was much more severe. Since blood vessels were connected to the area, removing the hemangioma wasn’t without its risks. Removal meant a large amount of blood loss, and if Riley hemorrhaged, it could be fatal. At the same time, if Riley didn’t have surgery, her hemangioma would continue to swell and cause further complications.
The doctor suggested Riley live with her “Pinocchio nose” for a few more years before attempting to remove it. Meanwhile, as her nose grew, Lynette worried about its impact on her daughter’s developing sense of self. During one holiday season, when her nose was as bright red and round as ever, a stranger approached them and said, “Now if you gave her Rudolph antlers, she’d be a full decoration!”
But two years later, fate intervened.
In the video below, see Riley’s transformation that occurred when she was only a few years old.
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