Cranfield teenager remembers his father’s life-saving brain operation


A teenager has surprised his family by getting a unique tattoo on the anniversary of his father’s brain surgery.

He’s had his dad’s brain scan image tattooed in the back of his neck

Harrison ‘Harry’ Shanley’s life was forever altered when, in 2018, his dad Matt Shanley was left with life-changing effects from a surgery he underwent to remove a rare subependymoma brain tumour.

To mark the third anniversary of the craniotomy that saved his dad’s life, 18-year-old Harry got a permanent reminder inked onto the back of his neck, something he refers to as his dad’s ‘craniversary present’.

The surgery left Matt sight impaired and he still suffers with fatigue, memory problems and debilitating seizures. But without it, the outlook would have been much bleaker.

Harry, who lives in Cranfield, said of his tattoo: “It’s exactly what I wanted. I suggested using a cartoon image of a brain but the tattooist took my dad’s brain scans and created this realistic picture of it, with a blue rose growing through it where his tumour was. It’s like having something nice growing out of the evil tumour that was there.”

After 45 minutes in the tattoo parlour chair, Harry rushed to his grandmother’s house to surprise Cranfield postman Matt, who was with other family members who had gathered after completing a Walk of Hope in aid of MK-based charity Brain Tumour Research.

Harry said: “I got it on the back of my neck so it’s more visible. Dad was pretty shocked because he didn’t know I was getting it but he was happy and proud – it obviously means a lot to him.”