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A Missouri dad whose infant son was diagnosed with a skull condition decided to make the most out of the situation, decorating the boy's medical helmets in Star Wars themes.
Jonathan Moxey's 1-year-old son Jack had to wear a helmet from when he was about three months old until just before his first birthday in August, due to a condition called craniosynostosis, which affects the skull's growth patterns.
"There are several different types, but thankfully Jack had the type that's most treatable," Moxey, a brewer who lives with his family in St. Louis, told TODAY.
"We thought, this is the hand we've been dealt, we can take a very positive attitude about it, or we can be down about it," he said. "But the last thing we wanted was for someone to feel sorry for Jack, because we were very blessed."
So Moxey decided to jazz up the plain white hospital helmets, researching Star Wars costumes online and buying paint pens, automotive detail tape and decals to get started.
"I've always been a big Star Wars fan, and I'm definitely not a big sports fan," Moxey said. "We were looking for something that would be fun to do with these helmets, to kind of change the attention he would inevitably be getting."
With the new and improved helmets, the conversation shifted from Jack's condition, he said.
His son had four different helmets during the nearly nine months, as his head grew, and so Moxey made four different design themes: R2-D2, Luke Skywalker, Biggs Darklighter and Jek Porkins. He posted photos of his artwork on social media, and the helmets were a hit.
"My buddy Mike posted it on Reddit," he said. "I was vaguely familiar with Reddit, but I'd never been on there. And he called me and said, 'Dude, you're on the front page of Reddit.' I do know what a million page views means!"
"I never would have imagined it would have taken off like it did," Moxey added. "It's bizarre, but it's also cool."
And now that Jack is helmet-free, he appears to be recovering well, his dad said.
"Everything looks good so far," Moxey said. "In January, he'll meet with a full team of doctors for another check-up to make sure everything is progressing the way it should, but right now he seems to be a completely normal 16-month-old boy."