Chippewa Valley (WQOW) - As Father's Day approaches, News 18 is sharing a story of a father's love.
When his six-year-old son was faced with another round of cranial surgery, Jeremy Cortner, from Chippewa Falls, wanted to show him a scar is not a sign of weakness, rather a symbol of survival.
"I saw another father who did the same thing. His son had a brain tumor, and he did it to boost the confidence of his child. And, that's kind of the same reason I'm doing it,” Cortner said.
A permanent design graced Cortner's freshly, shaven scalp, stretching from ear to ear. Cortner said there are about six stitches to a segment. He said the entire segment is 12 inches in length.
Cortner braved the needle at Rezurrection Tattoo in Eau Claire, all for his 6-year-old son, Casey, who will be facing his second round of surgery in July.
"My son, Casey, had a craniosynostosis. That's when the sutures in his head fuse prematurely so they (doctors) did a surgery to kind of let the brain have room to grow again,” Cortner said.
Casey's parents said in July, doctors will repair "soft spots" on his skull, ones they said haven't healed since his first surgery from nearly six years ago.
"They're probably about one to two inches wide. So, they're using 3D technology to go in and fill those spots,” Casey's mom, Amy, said. “If we didn't do that, his brain couldn't grow and that would – he would potentially lose his sight and his hearing and his ability to learn because his brain couldn't utilize the room that it should."
Cortner said he wants to show his son scars are nothing to be ashamed of. "I want him to know that he shouldn't feel isolated or alone with his scar," Cortner said.
It's a scar with a story for a lifetime memory. "I get to choose this. He doesn't get to choose his, you know,” Cortner said. "When he (Casey) looks back, and thinks about his surgery, maybe some positive memories will come out of something special my dad did for me instead of just the negative parts of it of how painful it was."
Amy said Casey will feel more confident as he matures, knowing his dad has a scar just like him. "When people ask you in public, he can even refer to his dad even instead of himself, or he can say, 'Look, we're the same'. You know, so he doesn't feel so alone,” Amy said.
Casey's surgery is scheduled for July 25 at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. We wish him the best of luck!