South Florida baby home after treatment in Russia

Mother, daughter plan to return to continue treatment

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – It’s been said that there’s nothing as powerful as a mother’s love and Carolina Fenner is proof of that.

“I just have to do what I believe is best,” she said, referring to her daughter Luna.

Local 10 first reported the story of the baby born with a black, hairy growth covering most of her face called a giant melanocytic nevus.

We connected Fenner with a South Florida pediatric plastic surgeon who proposed a series of invasive surgeries that would take up to four years to complete, but after sharing that story, Fenner received offers from around the country and the world.

In September 2019 she decided to take Luna to see a doctor in Russia for what she hoped would be a less complicated process with better results.

“I was scared and trying not to regret my decision but I had to go to do the right thing. I just had to give it a shot,” she said.

For just over two months, the two stayed in Krasnodar, Russia while Luna underwent photodynamic therapy to remove a portion of the growth.

“Photodynamic therapy is one in which a photosensitizer is injected into the area and then the necessary zone is treated with laser light at a wavelength that is absorbed by the photosensitizer,” said Dr. Pavel Popov, the Russian oncologist treating Luna.

Popov also removed some smaller growths on Luna’s body that he believed posed a high risk for becoming cancerous.

“I was so impressed with that because nobody realized that here, so, you know, I just trust him,” Fenner said.

At the end of January 2020, mother and daughter will return to Krasnodar for more procedures over a longer stay.

“He said she’s healing very well. We are hoping for the best," Fenner said. “We don’t know how much it’s going to be but it’s going to take a few months for the final result.”

Popov said Luna’s treatment should be completed within 18 months.

About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Louis Aguirre is an Emmy-award winning journalist who anchors weekday newscasts and serves as WPLG Local 10’s Environmental Advocate.