Do you like to volunteer? I’ve noticed that I tend to make close friendships with people who enjoy volunteering. I was assessing my current volunteering efforts, and I realized that one of my current all-time favorite volunteering efforts is with Personal Ink, P.ink Tattoo Day MSP.
Personal Ink is a program of FCancer (let’sFcancer) that is dedicated to empowering women with options to reclaim their bodies after mastectomies. I’ve been involved with Personal Ink since October 2013, when I got my mastectomy scar tattooed in New York City at the very first Personal Ink Tattoo Day that was held at Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn.
The next year, Noel Franus, who founded Personal Ink, reached out to those of us who got tattooed in 2013 and he asked who wanted to organize a tattooing event in their city. Without a second of hesitation, I said yes. I’ve been involved as a volunteer every year since then.
Over the years, here in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, 43 women have gotten tattoos as a result of our organizing. This year, in 2019, we have 4 tattoo shops: Creative Images, Tailorbird Tattoo, Canvas Tattoo and BlackEnd Tattoo participating.
Eighteen artists have signed up to give tattoos at no cost to the 18 recipients we selected. The women hail from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa. Heading into 2020, we will be at 61 women who will have been given healing closure to their mastectomy experience. That number brings so much joy to my heart.
This year, we have a volunteer organizing committee of five. Missy, Michelle, Deb, Kim and I have all received Personal Ink tattoos to seal up our cancer/pre-cancer mastectomy experience. All of us feel like we regained a piece of ourselves by getting a beautiful piece of art tattooed onto such a female part of our body that underwent such disruptive trauma. All of us work for many months without earning any money, to give back to the community of women who similarly undergo this trauma.
We love to see the healing, the joy, the connections, the transformation that happens on Personal Ink Tattoo Day.
For 2019, we created a PlumFund campaign to raise money to feed all the recipients, their supporter who attends with them, and all the artists, breakfast and lunch. Plus we will use a bit of the money to get a items for the gift bags we create for each recipient to commemorate the day. Please consider making a small donation!! Every penny adds up!!
With healing love and gratitude,
Mari, 2 time breast cancer survivor who has a fabulous lotus tattoo instead of a right breast