Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Mom appalled when teen gets tattoo to celebrate cancer recovery

A dragon tattoo on the chest of a boy like this one caused a stir in Washington state.

Jaimie Duplass/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Having to face cancer as a child can definitely force a kid to grow up quickly. But does that mean a teen with the disease can start making adult decisions?

Not when it comes to tattoos.

A 13-year-old boy in Washington state has sparked a criminal investigation after he came home from a trip with a friend's family with a massive dragon tattoo on his chest, according to the Associated Press.

Story continues below advertisement

The boy (who hasn't been identified) told his mother he got the ink as a tribute to his successful recovery from a life-long battle with leukemia. It seems that even if he had gotten an "I love Mom" tattoo his mother would not have been impressed.

"I didn't want him to do that," said his teary mother in a television interview. "I wasn't proud of him at all."

The tattoo is about six inches tall, and the dragon's spiky tail wraps around the boy's left nipple.

"It's a personal thing but it's also an embarrassing thing," said his mother. "But it's done now and I can't do anything about it."

Washington police are investigating how the boy got the tattoo, since it's illegal to tat up a minor in the state. But it's unlikely their investigation will really get to who's at fault in this situation.

Is this his parents' fault? Apparently, this isn't the boy's first tattoo, according to Babble's Stollerderby blog. (He and his mom got matching small heart tattoos during his fight against leukemia.)

Is this the fault of celebrity teens, many of who sport multiple tattoos? It seems Miley Cyrus gets a new one every week.

Story continues below advertisement

Or should we all just blame Steig Larsson, since now this boy will likely be known for the rest of his life as the boy with the dragon tattoo?

Would you ever consider allowing your child to get a tattoo? What if it's to commemorate a big life event?

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Madeleine White is an online editor and reporter for The Globe and Mail. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at