One mom went above and beyond to help her 6-year-old daughter feel better about her rare skin condition. Kory Poxton, a mom of two who lives in South Yorkshire, U.K., got a tattoo to match her daughter Tarly, who has Netherton syndrome — a serious disorder (also called ichthyosis) marked by red, scaly, ring-like patches all over her body.
Kory’s tattoo, which is on her thigh, replicates Tarly’s skin condition and is surrounded by a heart. The words “Little me” are tattooed underneath it.
“When Tarly has a flare-up, she gets really upset and asks me, ‘Why have I got to have this skin? Why have you not got it? Why has my sister Pearl not got it?’’ Poxton told the Daily Mail. “One day, I couldn’t really answer her so I told her, ‘Do you know what? Mummy can have your skin, but it won’t be real.’”
The devoted mom, who often has to apply moisturizing cream to Tarly’s vulnerable, itchy skin six times a day, contacted a few tattoo artists and found one to bring her idea to life. Tarly was thrilled when she saw her mom’s tattoo. “Tarly loves it and she’s told absolutely everyone about it, saying that it is just like her skin but pretend,” Poxton said.
Paul Whitehouse, chairman of the Ichthyosis Support Group, said: “As a support group, the ISG hears of many inspiring stories from our family members. Kory’s tattoo gesture in support of her daughter Tarly is a fantastic way of sharing the burden of the condition.”
He added: “This is certainly an usual gesture, but one that appears to be reducing the impact the condition has on Tarly.”
Kory isn’t the only parent to get a tattoo to make a child feel better about a skin condition. Dad Josh Marshall got a scar-like tattoo on his head that matches his 8-year-old son Gabriel’s scar. After having surgery to remove a brain tumor, Gabriel was left with a winding scar across the side of his head. Gabriel told his dad the scar made him feel like a “monster.” So Josh did the extraordinary gesture to help boost his son’s self-esteem.
As Josh put it when he entered — and won — the St. Baldrick’s Foundation competition for the Best Bald Dad of 2016, which is for men who shave their heads to raise awareness and money for childhood cancer and research: “Got my son’s scar tattooed to help his self-confidence.”
“He’s now very proud of his scar because he knows that that it means that he was tougher than [the tumor] that tried to hurt him,” Josh told People. “He calls it his battle scar.”
Parents Tanya and Adam Phillips made a similar empathetic gesture when they both got tattoos on their legs that look like their daughter Honey-Rae’s birthmark — a red mark that runs from the side of her right leg to her back. “We wanted Honey-Rae to feel special, that her birthmark was something to feel proud of and not [be] embarrassed by,” Tanya told the U.K.’s Mirror. “Most people might think it’s very extreme, but to us it was the natural thing to do to ensure our daughter never felt different or alone in the world.”