Dad got tattoo to help son feel better about cancer surgery scar

Posted at 10:48 AM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 10:34:15-04

The story behind a Kansas man’s large scar tattoo is earning him a flood of praise online, but the only person he cared about inspiring was his own son.

Josh Marshall got the tattoo to help his son feel better after young Gabriel had surgery in March of 2015. Doctors had diagnosed him with a rare type of brain cancer called anaplastic astrocytoma, and the surgery left him with a scar running from above his right temple around his ear.

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

Josh Marshall says he got this realistic scar tattoo at Point Blank Tattoo in Kansas from artist Merl Kent. (

Marshall says 8-year-old Gabriel loves the tattoo and tells people that the two of them look like twins.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a group devoted funding childhood cancer research, according to its website, held a #BestBaldDad friendly competition in June, asking for people to vote for a dad raising a child with cancer.

Marshall and Gabriel won with over 5,000 votes.

“Wow I never imagined this picture would blow up like it did,” Marshall said on Facebook. “The truth is I’m no better than any of the other contestants we are all great fathers that would go to any extent to help our children.”