From the moment Joey and Harley were born, their parents had to live with the possibility that their sons could die at any given moment. Both were diagnosed with supravascular aortic stenosis (SVAS) – the reduction of an artery in the heart that prevents blood flow to the rest of the body.

It is usually present in children with Williams Syndrome. Unless properly treated, the worst-case risk of this condition is heart failure. In spite of the fear instilled in their thoughts, they kept the faith. 

When 6-year old Joey Watts went under the knife for open-heart surgery, Martin Watts kept faith that the procedure would go well. When Joey emerged, all eyes were drawn to the 3-inch scar trailing down the center of his chest.

The Big Decision

Their father went to the tattoo parlor where he got an identical scar inked in the same place as his son’s following the successful surgery. It is a lasting reflection of how the scars they bear are a symbol of strength and survival.

This tattoo gives the family hopes to continue pushing through future endeavors. This journey will mark them for the rest of their lives and the fight isn’t over yet. Their older son, Harley, is due for a similar surgery in the coming months.  

The knowledge and awareness of supravascular aortic stenosis open doors for treatment. As this family has proven, the comfort and support of a single person can move mountains. This applies in and out of the hospital.


“You take comfort from the way surgeons at Leeds handled things with Joey,” Leanne Watts, the boys’ mother, said to SWNS. “It will be just as scary but they have given you a reason to believe. I thought superheroes wore capes, they don’t, they wear surgical scrubs and gowns.”




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