Louisville parents of kids with Down Syndrome get matching tattoos

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On a recent Saturday inside Ink and Dagger Tattoo on Bardstown Road, the atmosphere was a little different. On this morning, a finished tattoo was met by cheers and excitement.

"As you can hear there's laughter, camaraderie, there's support. It's just a fun time," said Beth Loeffler, who got a tattoo.

Each person was getting three little arrows that mean so much. "Which symbolizes kind of our journey together as parents of a Down Syndrome child," said parent Mary Beth Norton.

It's a nationwide movement that's gone viral. "We're all connected through the three arrow tattoo," said Norton.

It started a few months ago, when a group of moms at a retreat in Texas decided to get matching tattoos to commemorate their unique bond as parents of kids with Down Syndrome. It's being called "The Lucky Few Tattoo." The arrow design symbolizes the three 21st chromosomes and how families rise up and move forward.

"It's onward, upward. Moving onward and upward. It's showing that us as parents that we're strong as well. That we have to be pulled back before we can go forward," said Katie Grant, who organized the group outing in Louisville not expecting it to take off. 

"A group of 10 turned into 35," said Grant.

So the ever-growing group crowded into the tattoo parlor ready to get their ink.

"Everybody's kind of nervous together so it's really exciting," said Grant.

Tattoo artist Tony Geraghty usually only does three to five tattoos a day, but he was happy to more than quadruple his usual workload. "I'm kind of blown away by it to be honest with you. It's really rad how serious they are about it and how much it means to them," said Geraghty.

One by one, moms, dads, grandparents and friends took their turn. Each had a different reason for getting the symbol.

"My son Allen is two and a half. I was four months pregnant when I found out Allen was going to have Down Syndrome," said Norton. "We all go through the same things, whether it's doctors appointments, therapists, meetings, trying to get our kids into schools." 

The group acts as a network of support for many of these parents.

"I know when Grace was a baby, I looked to the people who had the older children. Now that Grace is 18, I know we can help them," said Loeffler.

Those united by loving someone with Down Syndrome are now forever bonded through three little arrows.

If you're interested in seeing just how many people across the country are getting the matching tattoos, check out the hashtag "#TheLuckyFewTattoo."

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