With pink balloons billowing in the wind and a DJ spinning hit pop music, Familia Ink Tattoo Company refused to let the dreary weather stop their celebration Sunday afternoon.
Married shop owners Robert “Tubby” Marin and Aulani Marin’s goal in holding the Ink It Pink fundraiser was to both raise money for breast cancer research and pay tribute to each of their family members who survived the disease, Aulani Marin said. “We’re a family shop,” she said, “and everyone who comes in is family.”
Aulani Marin’s mother is a survivor, as is her aunt, her husband’s aunt and one of the shop artist’s mother. All were present Sunday to get tattooed to commemorate their survival.
Children bounced in a giant inflatable pink castle while adults streamed in and out of the shop, selecting $25 tattoos. All of the designs were inspired by breast cancer awareness imagery, including the traditional pink ribbon.
Within an hour of kicking off the festivities, more than 12 people had been tattooed.
After receiving their new artwork, customers held up signs stating who their tattoos were in honor of. The answers ranged from mothers, aunts, sisters and grandmothers to simply “women,” Aulani Marin said.
Her mother, Poniala Morales, enjoyed the day, hoping the money raised will help in “finding a cure in my lifetime.” She was declared cancer-free in 2009, and stood outside the shop holding up signs to attract passing cars.
“I’ve never felt more honored,” said Helen Falcon, decked out in a bright pink feather boa. Her son, Sin Vazquez, is one of the Familia artists. Falcon had a double mastectomy five years ago and is now in the process of completing a sunrise tattoo across her chest to mask her scars. “He’s done this all for me,” Falcon said of her son, who, like all the shop artists, donated their time for the day.
A raffle was held with prizes including free tattoos, piercings and haircuts from local salons. One hundred percent of the proceeds from Ink It Pink went directly to Komen Central Texas in Waco.
“We wanted to keep the money local,” Aulani Marin said. The turnout was better than they expected on an overcast day. “It’s exciting,” she said of the cooperation from everyone involved. “We’ve been blessed.”