This father-daughter story starts with a surgery and ends with an epic tattoo.

This dad found an awesome way to make his daughter feel a little less self-conscious about her cochlear implants.

For the Campbells, hearing loss is part of their family story.

Meet the Campbell family! Image via Anita Campbell, used with permission.


Anita Campbell's mother had a cochlear implant, and her 8-year-old son Lewis wears hearing aids. She wasn't too surprised when her youngest child Charlotte was diagnosed as hearing impaired. As she grew older, Charlotte's hearing became progressively worse, which, in turn, made her painfully shy. In 2013, 4-year-old Charlotte Campbell underwent surgery to install a cochlear implant.

What's a cochlear implant you say? Well, I'm glad you asked!

A cochlear implant is a medical device that can help some deaf and hard of hearing people hear.

Image by Bjorn Knetsch/Wikipedia Commons.

For some people who are profoundly deaf or have severe hearing loss, the cochlear implant can provide a sense of sound and help them better understand speech. Now notice I said "some people" and "can provide" — that's because cochlear implants don't work for everyone. And there are even members of the deaf community who are anti-cochlear implant because they feel their disability doesn't need "fixing." While the device isn't for everyone (either by choice or by design), for some, it's an important part of being able to function in and communicate with the world around them. For Charlotte, her surgery was the key to bringing her out of her shell. According to her mom, Charlotte did a complete 180, from church mouse to "social butterfly."

In 2015, Charlotte had a second cochlear implant installed to help improve her hearing. Her dad came up with a genius way to show his support.

Even though Charlotte already had one implant, going under the knife a second time (especially at such a young age) was pretty scary. When it came time for her second cochlear surgery, her dad Alistair came up with a genius idea: dedicate his very first tattoo to his brave little girl.

They match! Image by Anita Campbell, used with permission.

Raise your hand if you're bawling. Oh, just me? Suuure.

One shaved head and 45 minutes later, Alistair showed off his brand new cochlear implant tattoo on Facebook. Of course, it didn't take long for the photo to go viral. Eventually, the local New Zealand Herald picked up the story, which is where I first found this adorable family.

Every kid has to deal with feeling different, but a family's love can make all the difference.

Even though Charlotte's a little young to understand how tattoos work, she still thinks her dad's ink is cool. Whether it's getting a tattoo, shaving your head, (or both), sometimes you have to get creative to offer support to the people you love. Feeling different or out of place can really suck, and that's where our friends and family are essential.

Maybe you aren't ready to shave your head and go under the needle for one of your loved ones (some of us don't have perfectly-shaped heads), but there are tons of creative ways you can show solidarity and support when the going gets tough. Maybe it's funny matching T-shirts, a charity dance party, or stuffing someone's room with balloons.

Alistair is a perfect reminder that going the extra mile when our friends and family need it can make those difficult times a little easier.

If you were moved by Charlotte and Alistair's story, you can make a donation to Hear 4 Kids Trust, which helps kids with hearing disabilities.

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