Dad Gets Tattoo to Match His 4-Year-Old Daughter’s Heart Surgery Scar (Photos)
Everly Backe, born with a congenital heart defect, had her first open-heart surgery at only 3 days old. When her father noticed her becoming aware of her scar, he decided to plan a special surprise for her.
Everly, also known as Evie, was born with a special heart problem.
When Lauren Backe was about 33 weeks pregnant, the person doing the ultrasound noticed something strange about the baby’s heart measurements. After a special heart test before the baby was born, a doctor told Lauren that her baby wouldn’t be able to go home until she had surgery on her heart.
Everly Backe was born near Chicago in August 2017 with a complicated heart problem. She had to have three surgeries before she turned 1. The first surgery happened just three days after she was born, and her heart was as small as a walnut. They had to open her chest a fourth time to clear out an infection.
Evie has a big scar on her chest that her family calls her “zipper.”
Everly, who is now 5 years old, has noticeable scars on her chest from the surgeries. Her mom, who is 37, mentioned that Everly is starting to notice them more. “She can tell you, ‘I got this scar because the doctors fixed my heart. I have this zipper line here.’”
But Everly is no longer the only one in her family with a “zipper line.” Her dad, Matt Backe, who is 38 now, got a tattoo on his chest that looks like her scar. He did it so that whenever they go to the pool or a beach, she’ll always have someone else close by with a similar mark. Matt expressed that his intention was to prevent her from feeling alone in her experience.
After Matt Backe shared the idea of getting a scar tattoo, his mother-in-law gifted him a certificate for a nearby tattoo parlor for Christmas. Armed with a photo of Everly’s “zipper line,” he went to the appointment, allowing the tattoo artist to replicate a similar shape on his chest. Despite the discomfort, Matt, a first-time tattoo recipient, endured the 30-minute process.
“The tattoo artist was like, ‘So you know this is going to hurt, right? Because it’s right on your bone,’” he recalled. “It didn’t feel great, but it pales in comparison to what Everly has gone through.”
Upon seeing the tattoo, Everly’s first reaction was, “Dad, why are you copying me?” Lauren Backe shared. In her sassy tone, she added, ‘You just want to be special like me.’" Now, she finds the tattoo “neat” and compares it to her own scar.
Then her mom, Lauren Backe joined in, getting a tattoo on her wrist depicting an EKG line with her children’s initials on each side.
Before you leave, check out this touching story about a dad who got a tattoo for 30 hours straight to help his son feel better about his birthmark. The photos really capture the heartfelt journey.