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Dad endures 30 hours of pain to get a birthmark tattoo like his son

Eight-year-old Derek Prue was like any other boy this age.

He loved sports, and swimming was one of his favorites. But there was one thing that was putting him off from having fun in the pool.

Derek has a birthmark covering the left side of his chest, and as he grew older, he started to become more self-conscious about it.

So much so, that it was starting to affect his confidence.

Derek’s dad, Derek Prue Sr., had noticed the change in his son- and it broke his heart.

So Prue decided to do something unbelievably selfless to help his son feel like he wasn’t alone.

“I knew he was self-conscious about it,” Prue said, tearing up. “I saw how he was reacting, and it made me want to do it so that he wouldn’t be the only one.”

The doting dad secretly arranged to get a very special tattoo on the left side of his chest- a birthmark that was an exact replica of Derek’s.

To make sure the two birthmarks looked identical, Prue even snapped a picture of his son’s birthmark before his tattoo appointment- something which made Derek a little suspicious at the time.

But he never could have guessed what his dad was up to.

The moment that Prue surprised his son with his new birthmark tattoo was a special one.

Derek was playing with his sisters in a hotel swimming pool earlier this month when his dad called to him from the side of the pool.

When Derek saw the birthmark tattoo for the first time, he couldn’t stop the smile from spreading over his face.

“I was happy and I was a little confused,” Derek told CBC’s Edmonton AM. “I didn’t know he was going to do that.”

Prue sat for his tattoo for about 30 hours, over six to eight weeks in total. It was the most painful part of the body to get inked, but Prue knew that it was all going to be worth it.

“He’s been through the wringer sitting for that,” said tattoo artist Tony Gibbert, owner of the Juicy Quill tattoo studio in Stony Plain, Alta., where Prue had the work done. “It’s pretty painful.”

Prue added: “I remember the first time coming in, laying down and then after maybe three, four hours, I was like, ‘Yeah, are we almost done?’ And Tony’s like, ‘Yeah, we’re almost done the outline.’ I’m kind of glad I didn’t know how long it was going to take.”

Tattoo artist Tony had never inked anything like a birthmark before, but he was overjoyed to have been chosen to create such a special tattoo.

“I think it’s amazing to be able to comfort your son like that,” he said. “It’s more than just your kid seeing your name, or something, you get to actually, like, really change the way he feels about himself.

“Just being able to go swimming with his dad and take off his shirt and be happy and comfortable. I’m happy I get to be part of it, in a small way I get to help with what he’s trying to do.”

These days, Derek is slowly but surely regaining his confidence- and as long as his dad’s around, he knows that he can do anything.

“Whenever Daddy’s there I can take the shirt off,” Derek would tell his mom at the swimming pool. “Now we have the same marks for life.”

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