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Pink Ink: Aubrey’s Ribbon of Hope For An End to Breast Cancer

October 6th, 2013

Lisa Dawson

Aubrey's Pink Ribbon of Hope

I first spotted Aubrey at the 2011 Seattle 3-Day, when she was part of The Pink Penguins team, and met her again this year, now as part of Team Tracy. This year marks the fourth time she’s walked the 3-Day in Seattle – she’s also walked in Tampa and is headed to San Diego for her sixth walk in November.

Aubrey merged her team with Tracy’s team this year when Tracy was diagnosed with cancer for the fourth time. She explains, “we wanted to show a sign of solidarity, love, and sisterhood. I realized that our team name isn’t what’s important. In the end, we’re all on the same team, fighting the same disease, praying for the same outcome.”

Aubrey's Pink Ribbon of Hope

Aubrey’s mom was diagnosed in 2010, exactly one month to the day before her first 3-Day. A year later, she visited Germans Tattoos in Lakewood, Washington to get her tattoo.

My tattoo represents the hope I had for my mom to overcome cancer, the hope I have for those who are battling, and the hope for some day a world without breast cancer. – Aubrey

Aubrey’s mom is currently serving in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor, and in Aubrey’s words “she’s a fighter on so many immeasurable levels.” She comes home for good in December.

Thanks for sharing your story with me, Aubrey. I look forward to seeing you in San Diego!

Pink Ink: Aunt, Niece Remember a Matriarch Lost to Breast Cancer

October 5th, 2013

Lisa Dawson

As I mentioned in my Seattle 3-Day recap, I saw a lot of pink ink this year! I ran into Holly and Beverly at a rest stop on Day 1 (they were taking a break next to Cindy). I spotted Holly’s pink ribbon and cherry blossom tattoo first.

Holly's pink ribbon tattoo

Holly’s tattoo is in honor of her maternal grandmother, who lost her fight with breast cancer before Holly ever got to meet her. Project Tattoo Studio in Mountlake Terrace, Washington did a great job with this one –  I love the shading and detail around the edge of the ribbon!

Holly was walking her fourth 3-Day with her aunt Beverly, who also has a tattoo!

Beverly's pink ribbon tattoo

Beverly came all the way from Kentucky to walk her third 3-Day with Holly. This Komen running ribbon is in memory of her mother, Holly’s grandmother. Beverly was 68 years young when she got her tattoo… it just goes to show you, you’re never too old for pink ink!

Pink Ink: Cindy’s Butterfly and Kanji Pink Ribbon Tattoos

October 1st, 2013

Lisa Dawson

Cindy Aspha

I met Cindy the Asphalt Angel at early pit stop on the first day of the 2013 Seattle 3-Day walk. I had spotted another woman with a pink ribbon tattoo, and she was with another woman with a tattoo, and next to them was Cindy! It was kind of cool to run into a cluster like that.

 Cindy Asphalt Angel Pink Ribbon Butterfly Pink Ribbon Tattoo

Cindy Asphalt Angel Kanji Pink Ribbon

Cindy has a tattoo on each of her lower legs – on her right is a richly-colored ribbon butterfly (I love the trail) and the left has Kanji symbolizing “hoping for a cure” over a classic pink ribbon. Her go-to tattoo artist is O.C. at Axis Tattoo & Body Piercing  in Corpus Christi. You read that right… Cindy traveled from Corpus Christi, Texas to do her 13th 3-Day walk in Seattle!

Pink Ink: Jenn’s Ironwork Cross

September 30th, 2013

Lisa Dawson

Jenn's ironwork cross

Breast cancer runs in Jenn Nudelman’s family, and she’s been helping raise awareness by taking part in 3-Day walks and Race for the Cure events for years. She received her own breast cancer diagnosis in May 2011, and was unexpectedly laid off from her tax accountant job in the middle of her treatment. Determined not to let the diagnosis and loss weigh her down, she thought of ways she could take advantage of the time off:

“Little did I know that once the initial shock wore off (which took a little while), this would be one of the greatest blessings in my life. Once I didn’t have the burden of working a gazillion hours, I decided to do some things I’ve wanted to do for some time, but couldn’t do while working a crazy tax accountant’s schedule. I wanted to ACTIVELY volunteer for Komen, give back to the community served by St. James Cathedral and foster a rescue dog.”

If you’ve been to a Komen Puget Sound event in the past couple of years, chances are you’ve crossed paths with Jenn. Her willingness to help wherever needed, share her story and advocate for breast cancer programs and services is greatly appreciated by the Affiliate, who recognized her in May with their 2013 New Volunteer Award.

As the co-founder of Seattle Shar Pei rescue organization Aleks’ Angels, Jenn helps foster neglected and abused pets and helps them find permanent homes (she’s adopted a few of her own along the way). Her work with St. Vincent de Paul has broadened her understanding of need in our community, and strengthened her appreciation for how much she has, even when she was unemployed (she started a new job this summer).

scroll cross and pink ribbon tattoo

Jenn previously had seven pink ribbons tattooed on her lower leg, each signifying a 3-Day walk. Earlier this year, as a part of the Get Ink for the Cure event at Dzul Ink Lounge, she had tied them all together with an elaborate scroll-work cross. I saw it right after it was finished and it was gorgeous. Fully healed, the detail is simply stunning.

I ran into Jenn several times at the Seattle 3-Day walk and she was rocking her awesome tattoo and doing some awesome fundraising, too:  She personally raised over $5000 for breast cancer research!

One 3-Day Leads to Another…

September 29th, 2013

Lisa Dawson

3-Day walker

Last weekend I volunteered at the Seattle 3-Day walk as a member the Route Safety crew (here’s a terrific event summary).

2013 Seattle 3-Day Route Safety

Route Safety is responsible for, well, keeping the walkers safe on the route. The crew is made up of two dozen bicyclists and motorcyclists who head out with the first walker each morning, and stay on the route until the last walkers make their way into camp at the end of the day. It makes for a long day (I’m not even going to mention the HILLS) but it’s a lot of fun and you couldn’t ask for a better group to work with.


This was my third time volunteering (I’ve walked twice) and once again I was completely affected by the love, grace, friendship and courage of everyone I encountered:

  • I talked to a young mother whose cancer has spread to her brain, and watched as her friends – The Faithful Fighters – pushed her wheelchair 60 miles to make sure she could finish her 3-Day
  • I met a woman with late-stage, metastatic cancer who flew from Arizona to Seattle to walk with her sister and spend precious time with her family
  • I saw my friend Tracy, in between chemo treatments and surrounded by the formidable Team Tracy, celebrate raising more than $100k to fight this disease

I should have seen it coming.

The 3-Day is a life-changing experience no matter how many times you participate. I think I had forgotten how much I love this event, how it sneaks into your system and compels you to do something to fight this awful disease. I decided I needed to walk.

I registered for the San Diego 3-Day in November.

I’ll need some help: I’m going to be walking every weekend for the next six weeks and would love some company. And I will need to meet the $2300 fundraising minimum, so anything you can do to help there will be greatly appreciated. This will be my third time walking – I’ve done this before and I know, with your help, I can do it again!

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day

p.s. 15 people graciously agreed to share their tattoos on the blog – photos coming soon!

Pink Ink: A Ribbon of Hope for her Mom

September 27th, 2013

Lisa Dawson

pink ribbon hope tattoo

Krystal was helping me at the Home Depot customer service desk when I noticed the pink ribbon on her forearm. It’s in honor of her mom, a six year survivor.


I really like the shading on the ribbon, and the lettering has great lines (the photo doesn’t do it justice). Thanks for sharing your story, Krystal!

National Heart Health Month: Women are Different!

February 28th, 2013

Lisa Dawson

Lisa Dawson

It’s been almost two years since a blood clot decided to form in my heart. Thanks in part to information from The Hope Heart Institute and the American Heart Association, I recognized the warning signs and was able to get medical treatment before my heart was damaged.

There’s a common misconception that men are at the greatest risk for heart attacks, when in reality women account for nearly half of heart attack-related deaths.

As part of February’s National Heart Health Month, The Hope created the Flex4Hope social media campaign to raise heart health awareness via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I was invited to join the campaign and spread the word from the perspective of a younger, otherwise healthy woman. It’s been a great experience, so I thought I’d wrap up the month with a couple of my favorite updates.

Warning signs can be different for women.

heart attack symptoms for women

It’s common for women to dismiss the warning signs of a heart attack.

Especially younger women who are busy with careers or families (or both). Check out this video from Go Red For Women and see if you recognize yourself. I sure did!

The month is almost over, but that doesn’t mean we get to stop: Ladies, please learn the warning signs. And don’t put off getting anything that feels wrong checked out. I know how is it is easy to talk yourself out of going to the doctor, but heart issues are much easier to address when caught early.

Here’s to healthy hearts!

Thanks to photographer Olugbenro Photography and Gene Juarez Salons & Spas for my snazzy new profile picture!

A Tattoo for Breast Cancer & Autism Awareness

February 8th, 2013

Lisa Dawson

Ribbon tattoo for breast cancer & autism

Magali Reyes was one of the first participants in the Dzul Ink Lounge’s “Get Ink for the Cure” fundraising event I wrote about last month.

Ribbon tattoo for breast cancer & autism

I really like the puzzle-inside-a-ribbon design, and learned Magali wants to increase both breast cancer and autism awareness:

“I got the breast cancer half for my aunt who has been currently battling breast cancer as well as for the women I have known who didn’t get the chance to win their fight; one example is my friend’s mom who passed away when she was a little girl.

“My other half, that’s my Autism Awareness… meant for myself and my sister since we both have it, as well for some of my family members who have more severe cases of autism.”

Magali told me she had always wanted to get a tattoo from Dzul, and when she saw the fundraiser on Facebook she thought it was a perfect opportunity to get the ribbon and benefit breast cancer programs at the same time. This is her 18th tattoo – she’s slowly building up a sleeve on her arm and there was a perfect spot for the ribbon.

Thank you, Magali, for sharing your story! I love your tattoo.

Dzul Ink Lounge in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood is donating 25% of the proceeds from cancer tribute tattoos to the Komen Puget Sound Affiliate. “Get Ink for the Cure” runs through the end of February, and includes any tattoo that commemorates a fight against cancer or remembers a loved one.

Tattoos: Stories in Permanent Ink

February 5th, 2013

Lisa Dawson

“My tattoos hurt as much or as little as the moments in my life
that led me to them.”
– Nora Flanagan

Some of my tattoos, like the ones on my wrist and ankle, are in plain sight.

You might see the ink on my shoulder blades if we run into each other at the pool or an event where I’m wearing a strapless dress. My other tattoos? Those you won’t see unless I make a point of showing them to you.

Sometimes I get asked about my tattoos.

The one on my ankle, the smallest one, has a story that spans two decades. The pink band around my wrist is for perspective, a reminder that some things in life, like breast cancer, are bigger than me.

Each one of my tattoos has a story. I got them because I wanted to remember, no… to celebrate a point in time. Fertility. Love. Death. Hope. All symbolized in permanent ink. For me, and for the people close to me.

A friend shared this clip of Chicago teacher Nora Flanagan talking about her storybook of tattoos.

“When you are old, will you be grateful that you never wrote any of the moments of your life in permanent ink?”

Thank you, Nora. I doubt anyone could have said it better.


Pink tile image courtesy of

“Get Ink for the Cure” at Dzul Ink Lounge

January 31st, 2013

Lisa Dawson

Dzul Ink Lounge

Dzul Ink Lounge has been a fixture in White Center for many years, but brothers Jacob and Alejandro (Alex) Dzul found they were spending more and more of their time in downtown Seattle. So they started looking, found a great space on 3rd & Lenora in Belltown, and officially opened their new shop in December.

As part of their grand opening, they decided to honor their friend Marvin’s mom, Anita, by donating 25% of the proceeds from cancer tribute tattoos to the Komen Puget Sound Affiliate. Get Ink for the Cure runs through the end of February, and includes any tattoo that commemorates a fight against cancer or remembers a loved one.

The studio is also hosting a “Honoring Survivors” party on February 23rd from 6-8pm. It’s open to the public (yours truly will be there) and promises to be a good time with some great door prizes.

Dzul Ink Lounge

I stopped by to check out the studio and had a chance to talk to Alex about their plans for the new location. I was a little surprised at how light and airy the shop is. Clean lines, high ceilings and a mural by Jacob as the backdrop to several open tattoo stations in the front (private rooms are in the back). Local art hangs on the walls – the shop will feature a new exhibit every few months.

Alex and Jacob are well known for their portraiture and black and white work, but have been doing more and more colorful, custom designs in recent years. Other services include piercing and airbrushing for people who want less permanent body art.

I know some of you have been thinking about getting a tribute tattoo (you know who you are), so I encourage you to talk to the guys at Dzul Ink Lounge. Be sure to let me know if you end up getting something done – I’d love to feature you on the blog!

Get Ink for the Cure