P.INK connects breast cancer survivors with skilled tattoo artists to decorate scars

Organization's motto: 'Breast cancer doesn't have to leave the last mark.'

Breast cancer survivor Leslie Viviana Ossa, left, will meet with tattoo artist Gianna Maria Galli Saturday.

MIAMI - It is not easy for breast cancer survivors to find a tattoo artist familiar with the scars and the damaged skin that are left after treatment.

Aware of the challenge, design executive Noel Franus founded P.INK, which stands for Personal Ink. It's a non-profit organization that connects survivors with skilled artists. Franus' sister-in-law is a breast cancer survivor.

This year P.INK has 13 events nationwide involving 47 tattoo artists volunteering to ink 48 survivors. Leslie Viviana Ossa, a Miami Springs high school grad living in New Jersey, is one of the survivors who applied and was chosen.

"Hopefully I will feel better about myself and my self image," Ossa, 36, said. "It's like I beat this beast and no matter how it scared my body I will always have some control."

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Ossa was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and uterine cancer in 2007. She is going to be at the event in New York to meet tattoo artist Gianna Maria Galli. Ossa said she was impressed with her talent.

"I'm covering up my tummy scar and my nipple area," Ossa said. "I am not sure what I'm doing yet."

She is considering watercolor tattoos and has until Saturday, Oct. 10, to figure it out. She is going to be live streaming on Periscope @Beary_licious all day starting about 9:30 a.m. She and others will be using "#pinktattooday" on social media.

The other events are in Baltimore, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Boulder, Calgary, Mendocino, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Redlands, Santa Clarita, San Diego and Vancouver Island.

HELP NEEDED: The organization is looking for gift card donations of groceries or gas for the survivors. For more information, e-mail help@p-ink.org.

Here is a video of the first P.INK Day in 2013 (Warning: Some nudity)


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