Kansas: In an exemplary display of a parent’s love for his child, a father went to extraordinary lengths to show his love and support for his sick young son who was suffering from brain cancer. The young boy’s father got a tattoo on his head just to match a scar the boy bears from brain surgery.
Gabriel Marshall, 8, was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma, a type of fatal brain tumour last year, the treatment for which was surgery.
While the surgery didn't get the entire tumour out, it has been nine months since he stopped treatment and is currently stable.
However, after the surgery, Gabriel's father Josh, 28, became concerned about how the scar left behind on his son's head from the surgery was lowering his self-confidence.
In fact, the little boy told his dad that he felt like a 'monster' with the scar, a statement that simply broke his father's heart.
Instead of feeling bad and remorseful, Josh came up with the idea of getting a tattoo on his head to look identical to his son's cancer scar to make Gabriel feel like a normal child once again.
'I told him if people wanted to stare, they could stare at both of us,' the doting dad said.
The heart melting gesture came to wide attention after Josh entered the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s #BestBaldDad competition in honour of Father's Day.
The photo of him and Gabriel showing off their shaved heads side-by-side was uploaded on Facebook as an entry in the competition with Josh captioning it: 'Me and my son at this year’s St. Baldrick’s event in Wichita, Kansas. Got my son’s scar tattooed to help his self confidence.'
Not only Josh won the competition, but subsequently had the photo of him and Gabriel shared all over the web.
It was described variously as 'awesome', 'beautiful' and 'respect' and was widely shared by blogs and public social media pages all over the world.
One blogger reported to her followers: 'This father got a tattoo of his son's scar which the little boy got from the surgery he had to get rid of his cancer. The amazing dad said he did it to help boost his son's confidence. Amazing father!'
Josh revealed that Gabriel loves his father's tattoo, saying it makes him feel like they are 'twins'.
But not all the reaction has been favourable.
Some chided the father's choice: 'so Tattoos now boost confidence huh? na wao oo! Arrant Nonsense!'
'What about when it heals' posted another.
Others have also expressed doubt on whether it was real; one suggesting it was just a 'marker'.