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Dad Gets Special Surgery Scar Tattoo So He Can Be 4-Yr-Old Daughter’s “Zipper Buddy.”

dad with chest tattoo next to daughter with heart surgery scar

Although she’s just 4 years old, life hasn’t always been easy for Everly Backe.

The Crystal Lake, Illinois, child was born with a congenital heart defect that required immediate surgery. She spent the first month of her life in a pediatric cardiology unit and required special medical care once she got home. By the time she was 1, she had undergone four surgeries.

Everly, who goes by Evie, is now a healthy little girl with a bright future, but her health battle left a scar that’s undeniable. Her family calls the jagged surgical scar in the middle of her chest her “zipper,” because doctors can use it to open her up and make her heart better. As she’s gotten older, she has noticed the scar more and more.

Hoping to make his daughter feel less alone in her medical journey, Evie’s father, Matt Backe, took a photo of her scar to a local tattoo artist and inquired about getting a matching tattoo. He wound up getting a tattoo that very same day, the first he’d ever gotten.

Evie was thrilled to finally have a “zipper buddy”!

“I heard Evie make mention about the zipper, just asking more questions than usual,” Matt said. “My thought was if I could get something that was a replica of it, we could be zipper buddies and she would not have that feeling of being alone.”

Evie agreed: “He didn’t want me to be alone. He wanted to be special like me.”

When Matt got home that day, his wife Lauren decided it was the perfect time to get her first tattoo, too! She went back to the same tattoo parlor and got an EKG with her children’s initials etched into the skin of her inner wrist.

When they shared their new ink on social media, both Matt and Lauren were surprised by the positive reaction they received.

“We’ve had a lot of people [with congenital heart defects] reach out and say, ‘I had a scar growing up, and I used to cross my arms when I was at the pool because I was self-conscious about it. I could really relate to this,'” Lauren said. “We’ve been quite honestly blown away by all of the people reaching out and all of the support.”

“Our hope for Evie is that she gets to live the life she wants to live,” Lauren continued. “Evie wants to be a mommy. That’s what she wants to be when she grows up, so I hope that Evie’s heart will be strong enough for her to be a mommy.”

Not to be left out, Evie’s big brother Jack has already told her that he will get a scar tattoo when he’s 18. What a beautiful, supportive family!

This is such a simple yet lasting way to show solidarity with a loved one! Evie is a lucky kid to have such thoughtful relatives in her corner.

Share this story to give three cheers for zipper buddies!

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