Dad Gareth Hickenbottom-Marriott has tattoos that have an extra-special meaning behind them: They're helping his daughter feel less alone.


This just might be the sweetest story you'll read all day: A dad whose daughter had surgery has tattooed a brain shunt on his head to show his support for her.

Gareth Hickenbottom-Marriott of Britain explained to the BBC about his tattoo that he wanted his 10-year-old little girl, Briar, to see what was going on inside her head. The child has Goldenhar Syndrome, which affects her eating and vision, as well as hydrocephalus, a condition that causes fluid to build up on her brain.

photo courtesy of gareth hickenbottom-marriot
Credit: Briar as a baby

Doctors at the Birmingham Children's Hospital inserted a shunt to relieve the pressure during a recent surgery.

Briar told the BBC she was shocked when her dad got the tattoo, but now she says, "I'm not lonely anymore." Sniff.

photo courtesy of gareth hickenbottom-marriot
Credit: Briar post surgery

Hickenbottom-Marriott previously got a tattoo of a cochlear implant, which helps Briar, who has had 21 operations during her short life, hear.

Briar and dad with cochlear implant and tattoo
Credit: Courtesy of Gareth Hickenbottom-Marriot

Although he's had to experience some pain to get his deeply-meaningful tattoos, ultimately, this amazing dad says that Briar is the one who is brave to go through what she has to go through.

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Hickenbottom-Marriott told, "I got the idea [for the brain shunt tattoo] because although there's a few of us around the world with a cochlear implant tattoo, I have never seen anyone with a shunt tattoo. I've seen people with ribbons and drops of water to represent hydrocephalus, and I suppose wanted something different." He adds, "Briar loves the tattoos."

Clearly this father-daughter duo has a very strong bond and has found a special way to stay connected and upbeat despite Briar's challenges. What an uplifting message their story is spreading to all!

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger/mom. Find her on Facebook and Instagram where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.