Tattoo artist Henry Huff works on Jessica Cornejo, who got her first tattoo, a pink ribbon on her arm, in support of the survivors of breast cancer in her family. Ink’d Chronicles in Pomona sponsored the Tattoos for the Cure event Saturday.
Walking into Ink’d Chronicles, the constant buzzing of tattoo guns, the smell of ink, rubbing alcohol, soap, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, playing in the background lets you know that you are in a tattoo shop.
On Saturday, Ink’d hosted a benefit called Tattoos for the Cure, in order to help combat breast cancer.
Terry Dipple, owner of Ink’d Chronicles and a 1976 La Verne College graduate, got the idea when his girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Dipple, former mayor of San Dimas, said that when someone close to you is affected by cancer, your motivation increases, and he wanted to do something meaningful.
The event, which started at noon and lasted until midnight, also contained an art show and music from six live bands.
“I couldn’t count up the number of tattoos we did,” Dipple said. “But it was just a great day.”
All of the proceeds raised, which were close to $4,000, went to the Breast Health Program at the Robert and Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Center at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.
There was an $80 minimum per tattoo, the majority of which were of pink cancer ribbons.
There was a steady rush to get that tattoo throughout the day.
According to Dipple, there were four artists for the event, and it averaged out to about three tattoos every half hour.
“The big surprise was even though I added an artist, we were still overwhelmed by the response,” Dipple said. “We had all the slots booked for the day even before we opened.”
Many families came out to support their loved ones. If one person was getting a tattoo, they had support from family members and friends who stood by watching the process.
Jessica Cornejo and her mother Anemarie Cornejo from La Puente each got matching pink ribbons on their left forearms.
“My grandmother is a survivor, and my sister is in remission,” Anemarie Cornejo said. “I support anything that deals with cancer, breast cancer; if the proceeds go to cancer, I buy it.”
“Why not have my first tattoo be one with meaning?” Jessica Cornejo said. “It’s something I want.”
It was Jessica’s first tattoo, and that made the occasion even more special.
“When she got her first tattoo, I was there,” Anemarie said.
Raquel Wessler, a Riverside resident, was at the shop to get a fleur de lis – a symbol mostly associated with the French monarchy – in honor of her daughter, who is a survivor, and for her husband, who died of cancer on their daughter’s 19th birthday.
“I’m basically here to say
f--k cancer,” Wessler said. “I think it’s incredible. There are very suburban people here, but they’re here getting ink, because cancer doesn’t give a shit.”
The audience at Ink’d Chronicles was indeed very diverse. It was not the usual or stereotypical teenagers and young adults coming in to add to their already canvassed bodies.
There were older men and women and younger kids there with their parents. All demographics were present and accounted for.
As was a common theme for the day, children came to sit by their parents receiving their first tattoo.
Debbie Roset, from Glendora, 53, was one such parent, waiting for her turn to receive her first tattoo: a pink ribbon and a cross.
“I had a mastectomy 11 years ago,” Roset said. “I’ve always thought about it. I had reconstructive surgery and thought a tattoo would finish it.”
Roset laughed to herself and to her daughter. “But I didn’t tell my husband.”
At 6 p.m., the bands started to play. The Sleeping Sea King, Cardiac Black, Conspiracy of Thought, Tatonka, The Failures and Tequila Hounds performed at the event.
About 100 people were on the street to catch some free music.
Frank Sparkman, lead singer of Cardiac Black, even came in to get a tattoo himself.
“I’m getting an arrowhead, because we’re from Lake Arrowhead, and because I wanted to help support the cause,” Sparkman said.
In between tattoos, Ink’d artist Cindy Chic was able to give her thoughts on the day.
“It’s crazy right now, but I was really excited to do it,” Chic said. “I’ve done a lot of dragonflies, roses, lots of things incorporated into ribbons.”
“It was a really great day; very emotional, but very cool,” Dipple said. “I have two things I want to do now. I would want to get other tattoo shops involved next year, and not make it about Ink’d Chronicles, but tattoos for the cure.”
“I think it’s something that can evolve into something bigger for breast cancer awareness. I want other people to pick it up and run with it,” he said.
A table next to the front counter was also set up and held information pamphlets, pins, and pink ribbon stress balls.
Ink’d Chronicles hoped to encourage everyone to pick the freebies up and learn more about the disease.
The overall goal was of course to help raise awareness about the effects of breast cancer.
Ink’d Chronicles is located at 264 W. Second St., Pomona, right next to the Glass House.
The business can be found online at www.inkdchronicles.com and at www.myspace.com/inkdchronicles.
Information on the Robert and Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center can be found at www.pvhmc.org.
Alex Senyo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.