When Derek Prue Sr. decided to address his son Derek Prue Jr.’s self-consciousness about his birthmark, he embarked on a journey that required enduring 30 hours of pain. Derek Jr. was born with a birthmark that extended from the top of his nipple to midway down his chest, causing him to feel uncomfortable showing it in public.
Observing his son’s hesitancy to remove his shirt at the pool, Derek Sr. wanted to boost the 8-year-old’s confidence and convey the message that being different is something to be proud of. Taking action, he enlisted the help of tattoo artist Tony Gibbert, owner of the Juicy Quill tattoo studio in Alberta. Armed with a photo of Derek Jr.’s birthmark, the duo worked on the tattoo project in secret.
Recalling the lengthy process, Derek Sr. shared, “I remember the first time coming in, laying down, and then after maybe three, four hours, I was like, ‘Yeah, are we almost done?’ And Tony’s like, ‘Yeah, we’re almost done with the outline.'”
The entire process spanned 30 hours, lasting about six to eight weeks for completion. Grateful that he didn’t know the duration from the outset, Derek Sr. finally revealed the tattooed replica to his son in December 2020, while they were at a hotel swimming pool with Derek Jr.’s sisters. The little boy, seeing his dad’s bare chest, responded with a big grin, landing in the pool.
Expressing his emotions, Derek Jr. said, “I was happy and I was a little confused. I didn’t know he was going to do that.” Derek Sr.’s sacrifice achieved its goal, as the young boy happily reported to his mom, Shanel Prue, that whenever Daddy was present, he felt comfortable enough to take off his shirt