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Dad’s surgery scar tattoo goes viral

A dad who got a tattoo to match a scar left on his son’s head after cancer surgery has seen his photograph go viral


Eight-year-old Gabriel Marshall was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called anaplastic astrocytoma in March 2015.

Surgery to remove a tumour on his brain left him bald with a scar on the right side of his head, his dad Josh said.

He told ABC News, “My son was very self-conscious after he got his surgery. He felt like a monster.”

His son’s insecurity led the 28-year-old to get a tattoo mimicking the scar, and to enter a photo competition for dads whose children have cancer.

Marshall’s photograph won first place in the St. Baldrick Foundation’s #BestBaldDad competition, having received more than 5,000 votes.

Gabriel is said to be delighted with his dad’s tattoo, and even tells people that he and his father are like twins. 

Josh says the response to the photograph has been amazing, adding that he is “glad that I can kind of spread awareness for the childhood cancer community.”

Anaplastic astrocytomas are a type of fast-growing malignant brain tumour which require surgical removal.

According to the National Cancer Institute in the US, “although high-grade astrocytomas generally carry a poor prognosis in younger patients, those with anaplastic astrocytomas in whom a gross-total resection is possible may fare better.”

Josh says Gabriel is now doing well, and while a small portion of the tumour remains, it has not grown and he continues to undergo a scan every three months.

It’s not the first time a selfless dad has got inked to help their child. Last year, Gareth Hickenbottom-Marriot from Walsall, West Midlands got a tattoo of a cochlear implant on his head.

His eight-year-old daughter Briar was born with Goldenhar syndrome, which causes deafness, and was surgically fitted with a hearing device when she was a three.

Gareth said the tattoo was a show of solidarity and that he wanted to give his daughter a morale boost.

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