It’s a club a select few are members of: families affected by Down Syndrome.
Roughly one out of 700 children brown in the United States will have Down Syndrome. According to the CDC, that’s approximately 6,000.
Members of that select club are coming up with a way to identify themselves.
From the outside, and the inside, Illustrated Man tattoo doesn’t look like a family establishment.
But that’s exactly what it was on Sunday. Families filled its lobby, and four tattoo rooms. These are specific, certain families; they call themselves the Lucky Few.
This Sunday, it is all about getting a certain tattoo: the Lucky Few tattoo.
“It’s the three chevrons,” said Brian Harrell as he stood up, ink still glistening on his arm, “that signify the path forward, and the extra chromosome.”
The Lucky Few tattoo has gained a following in the last year.
“It’s the perfect tattoo to have exposed,” Harrell continued, “because it symbolizes my son, who has Down syndrome, and how much work we’ve gone through, and how proud we are and what he is.”
One room over, seven members of the Davis Family got the Lucky Few tattoo on Sunday.
“This is my first tattoo,” said Sharah Davis, “because I didn’t think I wanted anything on my body permanently until I had Dylan. And he’s changed my life.”
Dylan is 11 years old, and loves his Boxer dog, microphones, and the movie Home.
“He just brings out the best in people,” his mother said as she looked at her tattoo: the three chevrons intertwined with the infinity symbol. “He shows us what its like when we love each other.”
And there are dozens of other families saying the same thing. The wait at Illustrated Man was more than two hours long after lunch Sunday.
“We knew that we were going to have a big response,” said manager Kelley Dawn Falder, “but we weren’t expecting something of this magnitude.”
The tattoo parlor is one of two in the Kansas City Metro running a special on Sunday: $10 from every tattoo goes to the Kansas City Down Syndrome Guild. Falder estimated she would create 300 tattoos on Sunday.
“I’m a parent of a special needs child,” said Falder, “so I know firsthand the trials and tribulations you go through with this.”
Which is why the families feel so much more than just a few minutes of pain when they get the tattoo. It’s a certain club few families ever join. They’d like to be recognized.