Tattoo artist offers ink for awareness

JESUP, IA (NBC) - Sandy Ferguson never thought she'd find herself at a tattoo parlor, but for the Iowa mom of two, a little needle is nothing. After all, her right breast has been through a battle and won.

She's among dozens of people who, in the month of October, trusted Greg Arbuckle for her first ink.

Arbuckle said he was happy to draw the familiar symbol on "women and a few men who never would have gotten a tattoo, but for the ribbon. They wanted the ribbon."

The Pink Ribbon represents a badge of honor for women like Ferguson.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Arbuckle gave survivors and their family members that badge free of charge.

"My sister-in-law is going to go through double mastectomy, then rebuilding," Arbuckle said. "And I just thought it'd be a nice tribute to her."

Arbuckle did not advertise the offer. He wanted each ribbon to have meaning and not just attract those who simply wanted a free tattoo.

"Some wanted to pay for them, and I say, no, you do something for somebody who has, or is over breast cancer," Arbuckle said. "Go do a walk, the karma comes back to you."

Every ribbon is a little different, much like the story of each woman's battle, but the meaning behind the pink ink is universal.

"Life, survival, courage, hope for other people that are suffering with breast cancer," said Ferguson.

Ferguson will wear her Pink Ribbon proudly for the rest of her life.

Wednesday was the final day Arbuckle offered the free Pink Ribbon tattoos.

Arbuckle said it was inspiring to hear the women's stories.

His own wife is a heart attack survivor and is hoping, in the future, to find a way to bring this much attention to heart disease awareness.

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