Carter Gentle, a 7-year-old from Farmington, Maine, hasn’t had the easiest time since coming into the world. Recently, the young man finished up with his twelfth surgery.
Born with a congenital heart defect (CHD), this last surgery proved too much for the boy, as he stared at the scars running along his chest.
According to his father, Carter cried for 45 minutes upon seeing himself in a mirror, terrified that “people would think he was ugly,” Mark Gentle wrote on a Facebook post.
That’s what led Dad to do something small but remarkable that paid off in a big way. Taking to the popular social networking site with the goal of getting encouragement from family and friends, he posted the following.
“#CHDAWARENESS We were a little apprehensive to post this but I feel it’s important. Carter took his bandages off this morning. He cried for 45 minutes when he saw his scars. He said that he’s afraid people will think he is ugly. This was hard to hear as a parent. We told him that his scars are beautiful and make him look like a superhero. How many likes can Carter get for his bravery?! Feel free to share. #CartersSong #HeartHeroes #CHD”
Along with the message, Mark posted this most recent photo of Carter Gentle and his scars.
You can see from the photo a shy, uncertain smile on Carter’s face — the smile of a boy who is doing the best he can to appease a father that he knows wants to help.
Well, Mark’s post struck a chord and instead of simply getting likes and shares from his own circle of Facebook friends, the entire community embraced the little boy with more than 1.5 million likes and 112,000 shares.
Aside from that Mark’s bigger goal of raising CHD awareness is being realized.
“His scars are what makes him, him,” Mark said. “They show everybody what he’s overcome and that he was stronger than the disease that tried to kill him. I’ve been able to explain to him that there’s a lot of people that have a lot of scars, and that you need to be proud of your scars.”
The media storm surrounding this quiet effort that exploded into something wonderful has been enormous with Mark and Carter even appearing on the Today show.
What do you think about this dad’s efforts to make Carter Gentle feel better about himself, and what are some scars that you’re proud of (and why)? Sound off in the comments section.
[Images via Mark Gentle Facebook Page]