Posted on: December 14, 2016 at 2:13 pm
Last updated: September 25, 2017 at 6:51 pm

When Gabriel Marshall, eight years old, was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer called anaplastic astrocytoma, in March of 2015 and operated on, he was left bald and with a scar on the right side of his head. While a small portion of the tumor remains, he received MRI scans every three months to ensure it remains in recession.


If people are going to stare, let them

The surgery managed to remove most of the tumor but unfortunately, Gabriel was left with a scar that made him feel self-conscious. According to his father it made him feel like a monster. And as any good dad would want to do, Josh Marshall sought a way to make him feel better about his situation.


He decided to shave his head and get a tattoo of his son’s scar on his head. Saying that if people want to stare at Gabriel then they’ll just have to stare at both of them.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation

A picture of the father-son duo, highlighting both the scar and the tattoo, circulated the internet garnering praise from all sorts of people, mostly parents, in awe of what Josh Marshall did for his son. The picture was submitted to St. Baldrick’s Foundation in a picture contest using the hashtag #BestBaldDad. The foundation, which aims to bring attention to childhood cancer, had Dads (and other family members) from all over the United States shave their heads in support of their children.


Over five-thousand votes

However, it was the picture of Josh and Gabriel Marshall that got over five thousand votes and won the contest. The outpouring of support that the family received was unprecedented, and Josh admits he never thought his picture would amount to something like this.

What started out as a few fathers with sick children shaving their heads in support of their loved ones, has rocketed the Marshalls into an internet sensation. The pair has really helped spread awareness about childhood cancers and how it affects families.

Far and above the rest

According to St. Baldrick’s Foundation social media manager, this is the first time anyone has gone so far and above simply shaving their head to demonstrate solidarity with their child. The fact that he got a tattoo to help his son’s confidence is really touching. The picture got over a hundred thousand likes on Instagram, so the internet agrees, it was a really amazing gesture.

Keeping a positive attitude

Unfortunately for the family, Gabriel’s tumor has recently shown signs of becoming more active. Further, due to the location of the tumor, it is inoperable. But Gabriel has a positive attitude, asserting that he’s not going to whine and that he’s going to be strong. His father claims the eight-year-old is his superhero, showing him what life is really all about and how to cherish the most out of everything.

To support Gabriel and the Marshalls, feel free to donate on their go fund me page.

Bringing awareness to childhood cancer

In the United States, more children die from cancer than any other disease. There are over a dozen types of childhood cancer and many subtypes. Each requires specific research to create the best treatment for children. Unfortunately, less than four percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research. Through organizations like St. Baldrick’s, awareness is helping to drive research forward.

If you or someone you know has fought a battle with cancer, don’t hesitate to share it with us. By sharing your story, you are helping to spread awareness about this particular issue and fight this battle.

ABC News. Dad Gets Tattoo to Match His Son’s Surgery Scar Published: June 21, 2016. Accessed: December 13, 2016.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Why we exist Accessed: December 13, 2016.

News.Mic. Gabriel Marshall, Dad of the Year, Got a Tattoo to Match his 6-year-Old Son’s Surgery Scar Published: June 21, 2016. Accessed: December 13, 2016.

Dailymail. We’ll beat this together, son: Supportive dad gets a tattoo to match his brave young son’s brain cancer surgery scar – and the pair win the hearts of thousands around the world Published: June 21, 2016. Accessed: December 13, 2016.

Buzzfeed. This Dad Got a Tattoo Of His Son’s Cancer Surgery Scar to Help Him Feel Less Self-Conscious Published: June 21, 2016. Accessed: December 13, 2016.

kwch. Fundraising efforts help eight-year-old boy in second bout with cancer Published: December 1, 2016. Accessed: December 13, 2016.

Youtube. Dad Gets Head Tattoo to Match His Son’s Brain Cancer Surgery Scar Published: June 22, 2016. Accessed: December 13, 2016.

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