OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - There are a lot of reasons people get tattoos. For some, it's to honor the memory of someone they've lost or to mark a memorable occasion. For others, it's a way to show their hearts on their sleeves. Well, their body.
For a group of South Mississippi parents, it's been a way to proudly display their love for their children.
They each got matching tattoos to reflect some of the matching experiences that they have shared as parents of children with Down syndrome. The three small arrows, all stacked one on top of the other and all pointing up, symbolize the three 21st chromosomes their kids have.
According to members of GCDSS, it also symbolizes how the entire group rises up and moves forward, overcoming many challenges but receiving tremendous rewards in return. Each of the moms and dads who got the special tattoos said the ink provides yet another bond that they share and allows them to show their love for their children in a different way.
"It's something that lasts forever and there's people who are doing it all over the world," said Jenny Ward with GCDSS. "You can be on the road or out of state and you might see somebody with this tattoo and it's a common bond."
The Lucky Few movement began after a group of moms met at a retreat hosted by Ruby's Rainbow, which is a nonprofit that raises money to get people with Down syndrome the education and training that will help them succeed. The moms decided to get matching tattoos to commemorate their shared experiences. They called it "The Lucky Few Tattoo," referencing a popular book written by the mother of a child with Down syndrome about her journey. A few pictures on social media later and the movement began to pick up steam, being repeated by parents across the country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 6,000 babies are born in the U.S. each year with Down syndrome. The condition is caused when a baby has a third chromosome 21.
March 21 - or 3/21 - is World Down Syndrome Day, highlighting that very special 21st chromosome and the beautiful children born each year with it.