Like father, like son.
Last week, Virginia father Robert Selby shared a heartwarming selfie on Instagram with his 3-year-old son Chase — both are seen with feeding tubes in their bellies.
Except, Selby’s feeding tube is fake.
“I cut the stem off and put glue on so it would stick to my stomach,” Selby, 33, tells PEOPLE. “I wanted to show my son that he’s not alone.
“It made him feel very happy and proud of who he is.”
Chase was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart condition caused by a combination of four different heart defects, at birth.
Because of his condition, the toddler requires a feeding tube, as eating can prove to be a difficult task.
My (1 out of 100) Mr. #stealyourheart #teamchace 🤴🏾 is sucking in his stomach, trying to show off his abs like his daddy but all you see are his little ribs. 😦😁💪🏾 I just cut and glued one of his G-tube on me to show support for him and bring awareness. My son was born with a Congenital Heart Defect (#chd) called Tetralogy of Fallot (#tof) and he uses a Feeding-Tube (#gtube) to help with him being under weight due to him not eating orally as much as a baby. But as long as I'm breathing, I'll always support my son and he'll never be in a fight alone. 😊✊🏾👍🏾 05 || ²2 || ¹7 ( Fox News, Daily, WUSA9, ABC News, have posted about it or did an article on his story). . . #tloce #thelifeofchaceelijah #niafa #neverinafightalone . . #tsrletmetellyou #congenitalheartdefect #chdwarrior #chdawareness #chdsurvivor #heartdefect #heartwarrior #heartsurgery #chd #tetralogyoffallot #clothdiapers #openheartsurgery #tof #smib #pha #gtube #feedingtubeawareness #openheartsurgery #childrenshospital #daddyduties #jimmykimmel #ellendegeneres #ellenshow #happyfathersday
The photo Selby posted to Instagram on May 22 is actually from last year. In the snap, both father and son are sporting black shorts. Selby shows off a six-pack, as Chase copies his dad and flexes.
“I try to instill as much confidence in him as I can,” says Selby.
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The doting dad decided to glue on the feeding tube after his son asked why he didn’t have to have one too.
“He said, ‘Dad why do I have a feeding tube and you don’t?’ ” says Selby. “I said, ‘Only super babies have feeding tubes!’ And he said, ‘But dad, you’re a super dad and you need one too.’
“So I put one on we got the pic, it turned out pretty great.”
Through it all his (2 open heart surgeries, feeding tube surgery, having 3 doctor appointment a month for 2yrs, the 8 medicine he was on, staying over night at the hospital for 4 months) etc… I've been there since day one with my (1 out of 100) Mr. #stealyourheart #teamchace🤴🏽 05 // ¹8 // ¹7 . . #tloce #thelifeofchaceelijah #niafa #neverinafightalone . . #congenitalheartdefect #chdwarrior #chdawareness #chdsurvivor #heartdefect #heartwarrior #heartsurgery #chd #tetralogyoffallot #clothdiapers #openheartsurgery #tof #smib #pha #gtube #feedingtubeawareness #openheartsurgery #childrenshospital #daddyduties
The family, from Woodbridge, Virginia, have received “so much” positive feedback on the picture.
“We have people thanking us for being brave enough to share our picture or saying that it’s inspired them not to be ashamed about their feeding tubes,” says Selby. “And that brings a smile to our faces.”
The father also hopes his photo, which has over 9,000 likes on Instagram, will bring some awareness to his son’s condition, TOF.
“It’s not much, but maybe we can make a difference,” he says. “We just want to bring global awareness.”