Calgary tattoo studio joins global movement supporting breast cancer patients
The Arthouse Inc will be tattooing pink ribbons on breast cancer survivors and supporters during Saturday’s P.ink Day, a fundraiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and P.ink.
On P.ink Day, customers at the Hillhurst studio may choose from one of three pre-stenciled pink, or any colour of their choosing, ribbon tattoos. The tattoos will cost between $120 and $160 and all proceeds will benefit the charities.
“P.ink Day is about the survivors, about cancer, about mastectomy, about wholeness,” explains Sondra Musa, owner-operator of The Arthouse Inc. “It’s basically about awareness and getting together and supporting.”
In 2014, artists at the studio tattooed 33 awareness ribbons. Nearly $8,000 was raised through the tattoos, raffles and donations.
Most of The Arthouse Inc staff members, including Musa, have their own personal connection to the cause and all of the artists will be offering their time and work for free on Saturday.
“I have a genetic predisposition, 80 percentile, to have cancer in my lifetime,” explains Musa. “My mom passed a few years ago of cancer. My father currently has cancer. It is very real.”
P.ink unites breast cancer survivors with artists that specialize in scar and mastectomy tattoos and covers the cost of the artwork.
Nicole Fischer of Airdrie recently underwent a preventative double mastectomy after lumps were found in her right breast in July of 2014.
“My whole diagnosis was based on the fact that I had cancer as a child,” said Fischer. “The radiation treatment caused my breast cancer.”
Through a video posted on a celebrity’s Facebook page, Fischer learned of P.ink and knew immediately that she wanted tattoos on both of her mastectomy scars.
“I wanted to be beautiful again,” said Fischer. “I already felt fake because of having my breasts removed, No nipples, you feel like it’s not you. You’re not real. I’m not feminine anymore.”
Fischer reached out to Stacie-Rae Weir, a local artist who focuses on tattooing scar tissue, who happened to have a strong connection to P.ink and was instrumental in bringing the program to Canada.
“I have the BRCA gene in my family,” explains Weir. “It hit close to home. It took pretty much everybody around me and then I got diagnosed with the same gene so it carried down into my world.”
“I felt called to make a career change with a focus on tattooing scar tissue,” said the artist who has been tattooing for nearly 20 years. “I felt like I had something to offer and I could really help people reclaim their positive identity or sense of empowerment through beautifying scars.”
The pair designed a floral design for Fischer’s mastectomy scars that incorporated the birth flowers of her three daughters. Fischer says she registered with P.ink but had doubts she would be selected. She knew that without the organization’s help, the cost of the tattooing would prevent her from receiving the artwork in a timely manner.
“If I had to do it on my own, it was going to be a slow, long process because I can’t afford that,” explained Fischer.
Funding of Fischer’s mastectomy tattoos has been approved by P.ink officials and Weir has begun work on the floral piece.