Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

For Some, a Pink Ribbon Tattoo Is Proudly Displayed as . . . A Permanent Reminder of Hope, Support

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

For Some, a Pink Ribbon Tattoo Is Proudly Displayed as . . . A Permanent Reminder of Hope, Support

Article excerpt

Byline: DIANA MIDDLETON

PART 7

RENEWAL

When Jessica Fashauer's mom felt two lumps in her breast late last year, both mother and daughter knew instinctively that it wasn't a false alarm.

"When she found the lump, I don't know how, but she and I just knew it was something," she said. "I started thinking about what I wanted to do. She's the most important person in the world to me."

When the Fashauers heard the final verdict - Stage 2 of breast cancer - Jessica headed straight to Inksmith & Rogers on Atlantic Boulevard after her shift at the Mellow Mushroom. There, she got a "very noticeable" pink ribbon inked on her left foot. It was a continuous reminder of her mom's upcoming battle, one that could never wash off - just like the diagnosis itself.

"Breast cancer is something you always hear about, but once it happens to you, you feel helpless," she said. "This is something that shows my support. It's very visible on my foot, and it's a conversation starter. I've met so many survivors and people in treatment, and we can trade stories and share support."

Jessica's not alone. Jeremy Thompson, a tattoo artist at Inksmith & Rogers, estimates that he sees two people a week who want the breast cancer ribbon etched in their skin. To them, it's a permanent reminder that cancer doesn't have to be forever. And for many survivors, it's their first foray into tattooing, period.

"The survivors want a tattoo that's meaningful and has some significance, so they usually already have it in their head what they want," Thompson said.

It can also be a therapeutic process, he said.

"I've seen people who have a bad car wreck get a tattoo," he said. "It's the same sort of thing. The tattoo doesn't really hurt them because they went through so much pain before."

To mitigate the wallet whomping that can accompany more intricate tattoo designs (a typical 2-inch ribbon can run between $100 and $150), one local tattoo artist doesn't charge to ink cancer survivors. …

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