Tattoo artist paints helmet for free to help baby with skull birth defect

Tattoo artist paints helmet for free to help baby with skull birth defect

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Preslee Garrett is a sweet baby girl who is starting to teethe, and also trying to adjust to wearing a helmet on her head.

The infant was born with Craniosynostosis, a birth defect in which the bones in her skull fused prematurely. The family didn't find out until Preslee was 3 months old.

"Oh God, I was devastated. I cried probably for two weeks," said Candace Garrett, Preslee's mother.

Doctors removed a bone in Preslee's skull, and now a helmet protects her head and helps her skull develop properly. She has to wear it 23 hours a day for at least one year.

"We've seen where some had been painted or airbrushed, or whatever, and I told my husband I really want to do that," said Garrett.

The Garretts paid to have the helmet airbrushed, but didn't like the way it turned out. So over the weekend, they posted a request for help on social media. A family friend contacted tattoo artist Ben Rusher.

"She just asked me how much I would charge to do it and I told her to bring it to me and I would do it for free. I don't feel you should charge for something like that," said Rusher.

Rusher spent five hours overnight painting the helmet based on a picture provided by the Garretts. He painted a flower, butterfly, Preslee's name, and added his own touches.

"I was clapping and jumping up and down. I was like, 'Oh my God, it looks so good." said Garrett.

On Thursday, mom and baby Preslee showed up at Rusher's work place in Ocean Springs to personally thank him.

"It makes me happy knowing that I helped and they're happy with it," said Rusher.

Rusher says he feels blessed to be able to add some color to the life of the baby girl. After all, he's also a dad of a 7-month-old daughter.

"I feel like I didn't do anything that shouldn't have been done. I feel as an artist, and as a man, your responsibility is to help the needy if you can," said Rusher.

Rusher also paints, draws and makes clothing. The Garretts are planning a special gift to thank him for his kindness.

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