Locals getting tattooed to fight cancer
Tens of thousands of people die in Tennessee every year because of cancer. The disease has touched nearly everyone's life in one way or another.
A local man is raising money to help find a cure by using his talent-- tattooing. It may sound like an unusual method, but people have been lining up all day to help.
It's called Tattoos To Fight Cancer. The owner of Inked Expressions in East Ridge says it's a way for him to honor his dad and help find a cure. It seems everybody who's getting inked, has their own story.
Ben Lewis arrived an hour and a half early to be first in line.
"I wanted it on my heart that way I could look in the mirror and just be reminded every day," Ringgold resident Ben Lewis said.
His new tattoo is in memory of his mom who lost her battle with cancer five years ago.
"There's no way I could probably fight that heard and she did every day and still managed to raise us," Lewis said.
His brother got one, too. The cancer ribbon tattoos are $30 each. All proceeds will be donated to the Chattanooga chapter of the American Cancer Society. Three local studios are participating.
- Inked Expressions, 5812 Ringgold Rd. East Ridge, TN
- Custom Concepts, 3917 Ringgold Rd. East Ridge, TN
- Main Line Ink, 317 E. Main St. Chattanooga, TN
"I'm not one of these big businesses that I have a bunch of money that I can throw out there, but I do have my time and skill so I can give that," Inked Expressions Owner Eric Newby said.
Newby came up with the idea not just to raise money, but to also honor his dad, who inspired him to tattoo in the first place.
"We found out my father had lung cancer, was diagnosed and we lost him about three weeks later," Newby said.
Some are recognizing their own fights with the disease in hopes of making a difference in the lives of people who will face that same gut-wrenching diagnosis.
"It's really horrifying," Chattanooga resident Carlos Cartwright said.
Carlos Cartwright has relapsed a dozen times since his first cancer diagnosis in 2000.
"I'm in remission right now, but for how long, I don't know," Cartwright said.
Dee Grier is getting her very first tattoo to celebrate all that her family's overcome together.
"My mom is a breast cancer survivor, I have a sister that's a breast cancer survivor, and I was diagnosed three years ago, so I'm a survivor too," Grier said.
"It's just like every time you turn around, somebody has cancer," Lafayette resident Christy Johnson said.
Johnson waited in line for a tattoo to mark the beginning of her family's journey. Her dad was just diagnosed last week.
"I'm still rationalizing it in my head," Johnson said.
All said it means a lot to share their stories and support cancer research, on a day they'll always have a visual reminder of.
Tattoos To Fight Cancer goes until midnight at all three locations.