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'A Fantastic Gesture': U.K. Dad Inspired By New Zealand Dad, Gets Cochlear Implant Tattoo To Support Daughter

| by Nathaly Pesantez

The viral photo of a New Zealand man with a cochlear implant tattooed on his scalp has inspired a U.K. father to do the same in solidarity with his own 8-year-old daughter, who was born deaf. 

Gareth Hickenbottom-Marriot, 40, of Walsall, England, says he went in for the tattoo last week for his daughter, Briar, who was fitted with a cochlear implant five years ago. 

"At first I think Briar was quite shocked," Gareth said to the Caters News Agency, according to the Daily Mail. "She didn't seem to know what to make of it."

Gareth did not tell his daughter about his tattoo until recently, saving it as a surprise ahead of her operation on Monday, as it marked her 17th time undergoing surgery. 

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"It's a show of solidarity that will give my little girl a morale boost," he said. "It seems to have done the trick."

Gareth's wife Leanne said Briar tried to take the "battery" off her father's head, believing the cochlear implant to be real. 

(Gareth Hickenbottom-Marriot with cochlear implant tattoo and daughter Briar)

The Birmingham Children's Hospital, where Briar was first fitted with her cochlear implant, applauded Gareth's tattoo. 

"Briar's family got in touch with us a few days ago to let us know about dad's new tattoo," Kate Hanvey, head of the hearing implant program at the hospital, said. 

"It's the first time we've head about one of our patient's parents taking such a step to show support," she added. "We think it's a fantastic gesture."

After Briar was surprised with her father's tattoo, she reportedly wishes that her entire family could also get implants. 

Alistair Campbell, the New Zealand man who inspired Gareth, went viral earlier this month after photos surfaced of his cochlear tattoo dedicated to his 6-year-old daughter, Buzzfeed News reported at the time.

Sources: Daily Mail, BuzzFeed News

Photo Credit: Birmingham Children's Hospital via BBC News