"I try to instill as much confidence in him as I can," says Robert Selby
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.
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.”
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.”