Devoted Dad Surprises Baby Girl With Open-Heart Surgery Scar Tattoo Like His Own E! News UK

Everly Backe, a four-year-old ‘little fighter’ from Illinois, US, had three open-heart surgeries, which left her with a scar down the middle of her chest, dubbed her ‘closure flash”.

Everly Backe shows off her father Matt’s scar tattoo

A loving father surprised his daughter with a tattoo of an identical open-heart surgery scar to hers so she would never feel alone.

Brave four-year-old Everly Backe has already had three major open-heart surgeries, with the first taking place just three days after she was born.

Parents Lauren and Matt, both 37, learned of their daughter’s complex congenital heart defect while she was still in the womb and stood by her side as she passed the first year of her life to undergo two more open-heart surgeries.

The procedures that saved his life left him with a deep scar in the middle of his chest, which his parents Lauren and Matt nicknamed his “zipper” because it was opened and closed so many times.

Everly showing off her scar


Backe Family/CATERS NEWS)

Mom Lauren also has a tattoo in tribute to her daughter


Backe Family/CATERS NEWS)

In the sweetest show of solidarity with his daughter, Matt – who had never been inked before – decided to get a tattoo of the same open-heart surgery scar as Everly’s so they could be “buddies. zipper” for life.

Insurance salesman Matt, from Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA, said: “Neither my wife nor I had ever had a tattoo before or even really thought about it.

“It all started because I started noticing Everly noticing her zipper scar a lot more than usual and making a lot of comments about it.

“I realized she was starting to feel different, because there’s not a lot of depiction of scars, especially her type, there.

“I just randomly said one day, ‘you know what, I’m going to get a tattoo to match him.’

Everly underwent three major open-heart surgeries in her short life


Backe Family/CATERS NEWS)

“It was kind of one of those things you say in passing, and I didn’t give it much thought.

“But on Christmas 2021, Lauren’s parents surprised me with a gift card for a local tattoo artist near us. I was so touched by the gesture.”

Matt booked a consultation and thought he’d be back in a week or two to get a tattoo, but the artist got a cancellation.

He added: “So all of a sudden I’m getting a tattoo and my wife and kids had no idea it was happening at the time.

“It felt like it was meant to be. It hurt because it was right on the bone, but I was thinking about Evie all the time.

“If she could go through everything she has at such a young age, I could do this.”

Matt said he wasn’t sure how his daughter would react to her new tattoo or if she would really understand its meaning.

Everly’s first reaction to her father’s tattoo was that he was copying her


Backe Family/CATERS NEWS)

But when he came home and showed it, Matt and Lauren became hysterical after she told her dad, “You’re copying me.”

Matt said: “In Evie style, the first thing she said was that I was copying her and teasing myself for it.

“She’s definitely the boss here and doesn’t hesitate to put people in their place.

“But I could see how happy she was, and then she smiled and told me that I wanted to have a special heart like hers.”

Mom-of-two Lauren was also inked for the very first time with a special tribute to her daughter’s condition – an EKG on her left arm to commemorate all she’s been through.

She said: “I’m incredibly proud of Evie. She’s been through so much already and staying positive through it all.

“She’s a very happy little girl and she doesn’t really know the difference. She has no idea what it’s like not being tired all the time and going back and forth to hospitals.

“Evie knows she’s a little different because she takes a lot more breaks than other kids and sometimes needs to be carried or put in her pushchair.

“But we always said we’d let her be as ‘normal’ as her body would allow. We didn’t fight that hard for that long to just have her be in bed and do nothing.

“She’s a little fighter and surprises us every day with her strength.”

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The proud parents said Everly’s older brother Jack, 10, has always been there for his little sister through all the ups and downs.

The dynamic fourth year student also said eagerly that he wanted to get a “zipper” tattoo, just like his father, to support his sister once he turns 18.

Lauren added: “Jack absolutely fell in love with his dad’s tattoo and his first question was ‘how old do you have to be to have one?

“He is adamant that he will also have one when he turns 18. He wants to support his sister.

“He’s the best big brother anyone could ask for and has been since day one.”

The parents hope to raise awareness about congenital heart defects in children by sharing their inspirational story with the world.

After posting a photo of the tattoo on social media, Matt and Lauren said they were contacted by people around the world who found comfort in their story.

Matt said: “It’s amazing to receive so many positive comments from people around the world telling us how much our story has touched them.

“Many said they had always been embarrassed or ashamed of their zipper scars, so seeing posts like these has been amazing.

“That’s all we want to do. We want to help others like Evie feel less alone while raising awareness about the disease.

“Many children with coronary artery disease don’t make it past their first birthday and others don’t make it past 18.

“We hope that by raising awareness, it will also help increase funding for research to help save lives.”

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