Matt and Stephanie Brown are convinced their son is a real-life angel. Oliver was born with “feathered wings” that take up half of his back. These wing-like markings start from his neck and end halfway down his spine. So what caused the unusual but beautiful mark on his back? Oliver was born with a rare skin condition congenital melanocytic naevi (CMN), a condition that causes moles and large birthmarks at birth.

Oliver is healthy and happy, but he has to be checked out every three months to ensure that the birthmark doesn’t become cancerous. “He actually has his on the top half of his back so it looks like wings. There can be lots of questions because it comes up to the nape of his neck,” Stephanie said. “As he gets older we would hope he can accept himself for who he is. We have all got these bits of ourselves that we do not like, and we have to accept them.”

While the condition does make Oliver more susceptible to skin cancer or developed masses, Stephanie is adamant about him getting his necessary vitamin D from enjoying time out in the sun. Ultimately, she feels the birthmark will help Oliver understand himself. “When children have interesting-shaped birthmarks, it’s a great way of telling them them about the condition and letting them know they are special,” she said.

This is why Stephanie calls them his angel wings. But Oliver isn’t the only one of her children with a special birthmark. “My own daughter has one on her leg shaped like a paw print, and that was a great way of telling her about it,” she said.