A father from Stony Plain, Alta., endured more than 30 hours of pain in an attempt to bolster his young son’s confidence.
Derek Prue Sr. got a tattoo to match his son’s large birthmark.
Derek Sr. said the idea popped into his head when he noticed a change in his son, Derek Prue Jr., who is eight.
“He was always proud of his birthmark and then I saw he started to kind of cover it up.
“I think he was maybe a little bit self conscious about it. I was wanted to get the same thing so he wouldn’t be the only one,” the dad said.
The brown birthmark covers a big portion of Derek Jr.’s left torso, from his chest around his side.
It’s something his friends started talking about.
“They don’t make fun of it, but they ask me sometimes,” the eight-year-old explained.
“I say it’s just a big brown mark that came with me when I was a little boy.”
Over about nine sittings, Derek Sr. endured the pain for his son.
“I thought it was going to be a one session kind of thing. But three hours turned into about 30 hours. So it’s been a bit of a process,” Derek Sr. said.
“The first sitting, I think, was close to four hours. And I didn’t really look to see what was going on. So I thought at the end of four hours it was done. So I said, ‘Is it almost done?’ and he said, ‘I’m almost done the outline,'” he laughed.
Because of the size and positioning of the tattoo birthmark, Derek Sr. had to be frozen multiple times to help with the pain.
“That area of the body, the ribs, the pec area, just very sensitive nerve endings,” tattoo artist Tony Gibert said.
Derek Jr. didn’t have any idea what his dad was doing until a recent visit to a swimming pool.
“I just kind of took my shirt off. He was wearing his shirt. I showed him that I had the exact same mark as him.”
“That’s cool!” Derek Jr. can be heard saying, in a video captured by his family.
After seeing his dad’s new mark, Derek Jr. continued to play in the pool shirtless, exactly what his dad was hoping for.
On Wednesday, the Prues went to Juicy Quill Tattoo together, so Gibert could compare his work to the real thing.
“This is something that really affected his everyday life, giving him more confidence, letting him know he wasn’t the only person with this big mark. Now it’s forever,” Gilbert said.
“It’s really cool to see him smile.”