Photo of Boy's Scars Goes Viral and Lifts His Spirits

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/ Source: NBC News

Carter Gentle was born with a congenital heart defect and in his seven years, has already had five open heart surgeries alone. Recently, Carter had emergency surgery to repair a pacemaker he's had since he was a newborn. It was his 12th surgery, but this time the scars left behind seemed too much to bear.

His father Mark posted a photo of his son's chest and scars on Facebook saying, "We were a little apprehensive to post this but I feel it's important. Carter took his bandages off this morning. He cried for 45 minutes when he saw his scars. He said that he's afraid people will think he is ugly."

Mark asked his friends to commend Carter's bravery by liking his post.

The likes came streaming in and the post went viral.

With more than 1.5 million likes and a steady stream of comments pouring in, the young boy is learning he’s a superhero, everyone has scars and girls may even like them when he’s older.

Gentle hopes Carter's story helps spread awareness for childhood congenital heart defects (CHD). The Farmington, Maine, father of three has also written a song, Carter's Song, in which he tells the story of his son's illness.

When NBC News asked Carter what his reaction was to all the comments, he said with a smile, "Thank you."