Loving Dad Gets Tattoo to Match Son’s Life-Saving Heart Surgery Scar so He’s Not Embarrassed
It’s tough being a kid, especially when you don’t understand why you have to be cut open so you can then be better. This was the case with 6-year-old, Joey Watts, but his loving dad stepped up and did something remarkable that has us thinking he’s a true superhero.
After Joey underwent a lifesaving heart operation in May, his proud father got a tattoo of the inches-long surgery scar on his own chest, according to SWNS.
Just 14 weeks after he was born, Joey was diagnosed with supravalvular aortic stenosis, a heart defect that develops while a child is still in the womb and causes a narrowing of a section of the aorta, according to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. While some with the condition may never experience symptoms, others may die in infancy.
Joey underwent an eight-hour operation on May 23 at Leeds Children’s Hospital in England to widen a blood vessel to help blood pump more freely from his heart, and he spent nearly a week in the hospital recovering.
“It’s not easy for a 6-year-old boy or any child of any age to have that type of surgery,” Joey’s mother, Leanne Watts, told SWNS, Fox News reported. “When Joey saw the scar, he just said, ‘Is this where they have cut me to fix my heart?’ We’ve told him it should be something to be proud of and he shouldn’t be ashamed by what has happened to him.”
After seeing his reaction to the 3.5-inch scar on his chest, Joey’s father, Martin Watts, wanted to do something to make his son feel pride in what he had just experienced. That’s when Martin went down to a local tattoo shop and got a matching tattoo of his son’s surgery scar right on his own chest.
A picture of Martin and Joey shows the two smiling proudly while showing off the markings on their chests.
“All of these warriors should be proud of their scars and all they achieve in life,” Leanne told Leeds Live of her husband’s kind act.
Martin told the news outlet that he also hoped to raise awareness for the Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, which raises money for the heart unit of the hospital.
The couple’s other son, 7-year-old Harley, has the same condition and will be having his own heart surgery sometime this year.
“From when they were first born, they told me there was nothing they could do, we would just have to live with it,” Leanne explained to SWNS. “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.”
While Joey will likely have more procedures in the future, for now, the family is happy their boy is one more step along in his treatment.
“I thought superheroes wore capes. They don’t — they wear surgical scrubs and gowns,” Leanne told SWNS of the doctors who helped her son.
“So to us this is an amazing thing to do to spread awareness,” she added to Leeds Live, “and maybe encourage a few more people [to] help to fundraise for such a fantastic cause.”