If you want to see what love looks like as a tattoo, these parents nailed it.

It's pretty great to be unique, but sometimes having differences that other people can see makes life hard.

Image via iStock.


For kids who are already dealing with growing pains while also interacting with other kids who might not be so accepting of their differences, life can be a whole lot trickier.

Thankfully, there are a number of amazing parents who are making sure their kids don't have to walk through this judgmental world alone.

Josh Marshall is one of these parents.

His son, Gabe, has a rare malignant brain tumor called an anaplastic astrocytoma that was removed nine months ago, but a large scar remains on his head — a scar that Gabe felt self-conscious about.

Heartbroken that his son was so affected by his distinctive new mark, Josh did the only thing he could think of to help level the playing field — he got a matching head scar tattoo:


"I told him if people wanted to stare, they could stare at both of us," Josh told BuzzFeed.

As if that wasn't cool enough, Josh entered the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s #BestBaldDad competition, which honors kids who are bald from cancer treatments and the fathers/uncles/grandfathers who shave their heads in solidarity.

Josh and Gabe's awesome photo took first place.

The parents of 3-year-old Honey-Rae also turned to a tattoo artist to make their daughter feel less alone.

Honey-Rae was born with a strawberry-colored birth mark that covers almost half of the right side of her body. The birthmark didn't affect her physically, but her parents feared how it would affect her emotionally as she grew up.

They, like Josh, got matching birthmark tattoos so that Honey-Rae would always know that she fits in perfectly with her family.


"Most people might think it's very extreme, but to us it was the natural thing to do to ensure our daughter never felt different or alone in the world," Tanya, Honey-Rae's mother, told The Mirror.

"Adam and I decided straightaway that we wanted Honey-Rae to feel special, that her birthmark was something to feel proud of and not embarrassed by."

Alistair Campbell got not one, but two tattoos of cochlear implants — because he doesn't play favorites and always wants his kids to know they're not alone.

Two years after Charlotte Campbell got a very visible cochlear implant at age 4, her father, Alistair, decided he wanted to do something to show her the thing that makes her different is actually pretty cool.

You guessed it, he got a tattoo of the implant on his own head:

Photo courtesy of Alistair Campbell.

He didn't stop there, though. In March 2016, when his son, Lewis, also got a cochlear implant, Alistair told Upworthy, "I got the other side done."

Photo courtesy of Alistair Campbell.

Alistair didn't get his tattoos because his kids felt different — he got them because he wanted them to know that he loves them and will stand by them no matter what.

"I got the tattoo(s) to support my kids in their journey," Alistair told Upworthy. And because he's the coolest dad ever.

According to him, his wife wasn't pleased by his decision — not because he was supporting their children, but only because she's not a fan of tattoos.

Every day, kids look to their parents to learn how the world works.

If parents teach them from an early age that the things that make them — that make all of us — different are things worth celebrating and embracing, they'll believe it.

Doing this doesn't require getting a tattoo, but I think we can all agree getting a solidarity tattoo for your kid is the quintessential way to be the hippest parent at school drop-off.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

via Walt Disney Television / Flickr and The Simpsons Wiki

Actor Hank Azaria's relationship with "The Simpsons" character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon holds a mirror up to how America has progressed as a society on the issue of race over the past three decades. Last year, he announced he'd no longer be performing the character, but that came after a long, slow journey of understanding.

"It's 1988, and somebody says to me, 'Hey, can you do an Indian accent?' It was, like, one line. I said, 'Yeah, I think so.' And Apu comes out. We're like 'OK, that was funny' and we all laugh. So that keeps going from there, and over the years it develops," he revealed on Dax Shepard and Monica Padman's "Armchair Expert" podcast.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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