Mom Shanel Prue told The Epoch Times via email that her son, Derek Jr., was born healthy. However, it broke her heart to witness her son growing self-conscious over his birthmark.
“I started to see that he was becoming more aware of his birthmark especially around other children,” Shanel said, adding that he began insisting on wearing his swim shirt even when he was just around his family.
However, Shanel said her son is always looking out for others. What goes around came back around for the selfless boy. Shanel said her son has “done a 180” after his father, Derek Prue Sr., tattooed a perfect replica of his birthmark.
“His father did an amazing thing that I will forever be grateful for,” she said. “He is proud of his birthmark and is proud to be in his own skin.”
Recalling the day when her son was born, Shanel said, “I literally didn’t even notice the birthmark until the nurse pointed it out to me.”
When Derek Jr. was 2 weeks old, a doctor told Shanel that she had missed the opportunity to have the birthmark easily lasered off.
“I felt sick thinking that I could [have] helped him in some way,” she said.
Determined that her son would think he was special, Shanel told Derek Jr. that his grandma was “kissing on him too much in heaven, because birthmarks are kisses from angels.”
However, growing up, Derek Jr. started wearing a shirt in the pool to hide the birthmark, which covers the left side of his torso, his parents noticed.
(Courtesy of Derek Prue & Shanel Prue)
To the shock and awe of his son and two daughters, in early December last year, dad Derek Sr. revealed his perfect replica tattoo poolside at a hotel, reported CBC News. Derek Jr. grinned and fell back into the water.
The proud son later shared feeling suspicious when his mom asked to take photos of his birthmark.
These photos were used as a guide by Derek Sr.’s tattoo artist, Tony Gibbert of Juicy Quill tattoo studio in Stony Plain.
“I knew he was self-conscious about it,” Derek Prue Sr. told the outlet. “I saw how he was reacting, and it made me want to do it so that he wouldn’t be the only one.”
“I remember the first time coming in, laying down and then after maybe three, four hours, I was like, ‘Yeah, are we almost done?’” Derek Sr. told CBC News, “and Tony’s like, ‘Yeah, we’ve almost done the outline.’”
The 30-hour tattoo took over eight weeks to complete, but Derek Sr. regrets nothing.
“Just being able to go swimming with his dad and take off his shirt and be happy and comfortable,” he said. “I’m happy I get to be part of it.”
Derek Jr.’s confidence is certainly bolstered. “Whenever Daddy’s there I can take the shirt off,” he said.
Mom Shanel told The Epoch Times that her thoughtful little boy “literally has the biggest heart.”
“I have been told time and time again by his coaches, teachers, and peers that Derek does not let another kid feel left out,” she said.
“He goes out of his way to make sure no one sits or plays by themselves. He is very concerned for anyone that he feels needs a little help, ultimately a little love.”
Shanel said if her husband and son’s shared adventure helps another child like it has helped Derek Jr., then it’s true that everything happens for a reason.
“I’m so very grateful for his father and honestly for all the stories that went viral. People say ‘everything happens for a reason’ this couldn’t be more true,” she concluded.
Louise Bevan contributed to this report.
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