Beach resident Julie Fitzsimmons lost her younger brother Owen to cancer in 2010, and decided to get a tattoo of a dove on her shoulder in his memory. It also sparked in her the idea to create a FaceBook page – Why We Ink – as a place where others who have been touched by cancer can post photos of their tattoos, and the stories behind them.
Recently her page received intense publicity when three-time cancer survivor Kelly Davidson posted a photo of her ink that went viral and made national news.
Davidson, 34, underwent a double mastectomy but rather than going ahead with reconstructive surgery, she decided to get a large tattoo across her chest. She posted a photo of herself on Fitzsimmons’ page, and within 48 hours had over a half a million ‘likes’ and tens of thousands of shares.
Fitzsimmons has plans to create a coffee table book of photos and stories gathered from her FaceBook page. Why We Ink: A Community of Celebration, Commemoration and Love already has the support of several Canadian and international celebrities who have contributed their own stories.
“It is the unfortunate truth that almost everyone has been touched by cancer in one way or another,” Fitzsimmons says in the yet-to-be published book’s introduction. “Often words are not enough to express what it truly means to experience cancer, and many people have chosen to represent their stories through the permanent statement of a tattoo.”
Jann Arden, Rick Mercer, Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, singer-songwriters Dan Hill, Biff Naked, Sarah Slean, Brett Wilson (formerly of The Dragons’ Den) and actor/chef Lisa Ray are just a few of the Canadian celebrities involved in Why We Ink.
If you’d like to find out more about this amazing project, contribute your story or lend support, visit FaceBook.com/WhyWeInk, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.