A grandfather and his young grandson have identical scars down their chests from their respective heart surgeries — which they underwent on the same day, eight years apart.
Jim Simpson, 74, and his six-year-old grandson, James O’Leary, have more than just a first name in common: The Californians also bear matching surgical scars, a special point of bonding for the pair.
And several years ago, on the shared anniversary of their procedure, the two posed together for several sweet photos showing off their twin chests.
Sweet! Jim Simpson and his grandson, James O’Leary, have more than just a first name in common: They also bear matching surgical scars, a special point of bonding for the pair
Jim’s daughter and James’ mom, Larkin O’Learly, organized the photoshoot with Lindsey Tatum Photography several years ago, but just shared them on Facebook this week.
‘My favorite pictures I will always cherish forever,’ she wrote. ‘My sweet son and my amazing dad have always held a very special bond. They even had open heart surgery on the same day eight years apart.’
James, who is now in elementary school, was born with Down syndrome and a hole in his heart — and Larkin notes that half of people born with Down syndrome have heart issues.
‘Some people with DS have other medical issues, some people with Down syndrome have zero medical issues. It varies person by person, just with typically developing people,’ she added.
Twins! The two have posed for photos together on the shared anniversary of their procedures
Fighter: James, who has Down syndrome, has had 28 surgeries and is now in elementary school
Including his open heart procedure, James has had 28 surgeries total in his short life.
Sweet: Mom Larkin said her son and dad (pictured more recently) have an ‘indescribable bond’
Larkin said that these pictures, taken on two different occasions after open-heart surgery, mean’ so much’ to her.
‘There was a point in time when I didn’t know if my dad or son would live. They are photos of survival and strength. These photos also capture the indescribable bond my father and son have,’ she told Good Morning America.
‘The photos are also important because they capture the beginning of the roller coaster of a life we now have,’ Larkin, who is the president of the nonprofit Common Ground Society, went on.
‘Both my son and dad have taught me just how precious life truly is.’
The photographer, Lindsey Tatum, added: ‘James and his grandfather have an undeniable bond and their love for each other is palpable. His eyes light up when he sees his grandpa.’