Ink’d for a cure

By David Sanchez

Cancer survivors and supporters team up with tattoo
artists in Downtown Pomona and get Ink’d for a cure

Tattoos are for many people a personal expression; a piece of
nearly indelible art that clearly identifies something about the
owner.

They can proclaim love for another, membership in a gang, time
spent in prison, or stereotypically, one’s status as a sailor.

“I support breast cancer research,” is not something tattoos
usually say, at least until now.

Last Saturday, in the heart of downtown Pomona, five tattoo
artists volunteered their time at Ink’d Chronicles to support
breast cancer research as part of Tattoos for The Cure.

The artists swapped tattoos for donations with 100 percent of
the proceeds going to research.

Terry Dipple, owner of Ink’d, resigned from his position on the
city council one year ago and opened up the tattoo shop with his
daughter.

Last year, while deciding what to do for the one-year
anniversary of his store’s opening, Dipple’s fiance, Michelle, was
diagnosed with breast cancer.

In November, two months after being diagnosed and treated at the
Robert and Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center, she was
declared cancer free.

“This is what I do, and I wanted to give back in some way, one
day it just clicked,” said Dipple.

“I decided on the one year anniversary, since it was also Breast
Cancer Awareness Month.”

Using word of mouth and promotional flyers at events such as
Relay For Life, Tattoos for the Cure has had a much bigger turn out
than last year.

The shop raised nearly $4,000 for the Robert and Beverly Lewis
Cancer Care Center.

Despite the serious nature of the event, the atmosphere was
festive and welcoming.

Inside the shop, shirts were lifted to compare tattoos, stories
were swapped, and those who attended created an intimate and open
feel.

Many of the patrons were receiving tattoos for the first
time.

Their faces fixed into nervous smiles as pierced veterans
proudly displayed their colors and offered assurance.

“[Customers are] giving in two ways, a donation for research,
and a badge to wear in support,” said 22-year-old Anthony Clesceri,
who is experiencing Tattoos for the Cure for the first time two
months into his employment at Ink’d.

Having lost a close family friend to cancer last year, Clesceri
was more than willing to contribute.

The night’s most popular design was indisputably The Pink
Ribbon. The patrons sporting the icon were a montage of familiar
stories.

Alexis Ward, 19, has “Live & Love” tattooed on her foot with
the “L’s” stylized into ribbons.

Lori Buehler, 45, got her very first tattoo of a ribbon
interlocking with “Mom.” Her husband David, 45, no stranger to
tattoos, sported a ribbon along with the word “Grandma.”

“My grandmother raised me and I lost her to breast cancer,” said
Buehler. “I was so happy to find a place that contributed this
way.”

Dipple’s wife, Michelle, made it her goal to become acquainted
with every patron who showed up for the event, while hearing their
stories and sharing her experiences with each.

“It’s unbelievable; we’re so happy to be able to do this. It
really brings the community, this area and the victims of breast
cancer, together.”

Dipple wears two bracelets, one for a close relative she lost,
to the disease and one celebrating her own survival.

“Anyone who beats this thing [breast cancer] is a walking
ribbon,” said Dipple. “We’re living proof this can be beaten.”

Reach David Sanchez at: lifestyle@thepolypost.com

Ink

Paul Rosales/Poly Post

Ink’d for a cure

Ink

Paul Rosales/Poly Post

Ink’d for a cure

Ink

Paul Rosales/Poly Post

Ink’d for a cure

Ink

Paul Rosales/Poly Post

Ink’d for a cure

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