On May 23, Joey Watts, 6, underwent a life-saving operation Leeds Children’s Hospital in England.
Although the surgery saved his life, Joey came out of it feeling “upset and scared,” according to his father, Martin Watts.
So, like any good father, Martin took some drastic measures to make his son feel better during his recovery. He got a tattoo to match his son’s scar from surgery.
Joey was diagnosed with supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS) when he was 14 weeks old. SVAS is a heart defect that forms in utero and is the “narrowing of the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.” If left untreated, SVAS could lead to shortness of breath, chest pain, and heart failure, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
“From when they were first born, they told me there was nothing they could do, we would just have to live with it,” Leanne Watts told SWNS, according to FOX News. “I was told they could both pass away at any given point. Joey’s condition progressed rapidly. They said if we didn’t try something now the inevitable will be sooner rather than later.”
Joey’s older brother, Harley, also has the same condition.
Following his surgery, Joey asked, “Is this where they have cut me to fix my heart?”
His parents told him his three and a half inch scar was nothing to be ashamed of, in fact the 6-year-old should be proud of it.
To prove to Joey just how cool it is to have a scar, Martin got a tattoo to match Joey’s scar.
Join Joey and his dad Martin tomorrow, share your #ScarSelfie and empower others to do the same. Show the world your #ScarSelfie on 21 June for #NationalSelfieDay and support CHSF! ❤️🤳
Posted by Children’s Heart Surgery Fund on Thursday, 20 June 2019
Jeanne Watts, the boys’ mother and Martin’s wife, said Martin’s decision to get a matching scar tattoo has given her sons confidence.
“All of these warriors should be proud of their scars and all they achieve in life,” Leanne told Leeds Live.
The family hopes to raise awareness for the Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.
The father and son duo appeared in a #ScarSelfie campaign organized by Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF), which encouraged those with scars to share their battle wounds.
“We fully understand that showing a scar picture is a very personal decision, and not for everyone,” Sharon Milner, chief executive of CHSF, said. “However we have run this campaign in previous years and know the positive message it brings.”
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