Area Tattoo Shop, Community Come Together for Local Man Battling Cancer

| September 30, 2018

OIL CITY, Pa. – For an Oil City tattoo shop on Monday, the ink was more than skin deep.

Austin Ink in Oil City held a fundraiser on Monday, September 24, donating all proceeds made from a selection of tattoos to a local man fighting testicular cancer.

Over $2,000.00 was raised to help, Mike Farren, 29, of Franklin, with accruing medical expenses from his current battle with cancer. More than 30 people made a permanent tribute to cancer awareness by paying $50.00 for a cancer ribbon themed tattoo.

Left to right: Nancy Arroyo, Nex Arroyo, Mike Farren and Ric Austin.

“I couldn’t believe it when I was first told about the event,” Farren said. “You don’t see these types of events where all proceeds are donated. I also didn’t expect the turnout – there were so many people in the community that supported the cause. I am forever grateful for the staff of Austin Ink and to those who came to the event. It was amazing.”

Community members from all walks of life came to support the fundraiser keeping how they are affected by cancer forever etched on their skin.

One newly inked participant, Katie Girt of Lucinda, said this event really meant a lot to her.

“I know so many people affected by cancer, whether it is they, themselves, battling or somebody close to them. This tattoo is a reminder to never lose hope and know that one day there will be a cure for this awful disease. So this tattoo is for Mike and everyone who is fighting has fought or has lost that battle.”

Logan Means, of Knox, (participant in event) getting talking with Ric Austin while getting tattooed.

Logan Means, of Knox, (participant in event) talking with Ric Austin while getting tattooed.

Ric Austin, Owner of Austin Ink, along with fellow Tattoo Artist, Guarionex (Nex) Arroyo, donated 12 hours of their time and talent – tattooing for the cause. The “Shop Mom,” Nancy Arroyo, coordinated and marketed the event.

“Cancer touches everybody’s lives in some way – it does not discriminate. As time goes on, we all see more and more people being affected. When somebody gets the news like Mike (Farren) did, your entire life changes in an instant. It can affect any one of us, and by having this benefit we bring together a community of people, united by circumstance for a good cause,” said Austin. “Our aim is to not only be a positive force in our community but to set an equally positive example for others to take care of each other and be positive influences as well.”

The shop provided all participants and guests with food, beverages, and the opportunity to chat with others about the impact of cancer.

“Cancer affects us all,” Farren said. “Many of the participants today had their own stories on how the disease has impacted their life. This event brought together family, friends, and strangers – each tattoo now serves as a visual reminder that no one fights cancer alone.”

Katie Girt, Lucinda, getting a tattoo from Nex Arroyo.

Katie Girt, Lucinda, getting a tattoo from Nex Arroyo.

The three Austin Ink employees added a special “Carolina Reaper Challenge” to the event – dedicated to Farren for his love of hot peppers. Five gutsy participants ate the world’s hottest pepper – trying to maintain their composure in hopes of winning a $50.00 gift card to Austin Ink. James Schleifer, of Franklin, won the challenge. Ryan Wiegel, of Wiegel on the Water, donated the Carolina Reapers and several wine bottle coolers for the pepper challenge.

This is not the first time that the tattoo artists of Austin Ink have donated their time and talent to the community. In 2015, the tattoo shop held a cancer tattoo fundraiser for the late Kevin Lewis – a former Franklin police officer and well-known community volunteer. All proceeds from the event were donated in Lewis’ name to the Venango Technology Center Protective Services class.

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