TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Cancer can take away precious time and loved ones from a patient and their family, but there are ways to brighten up a child’s day. Sometimes it's in the most unlikely places, like a tattoo parlor.
The employees of Ink Wolves in Tampa had a strict rule: No children. But that rule has been tweaked after Seth Van Nostrand suffered a loss last year.
"My mother just recently passed away from cancer,” he explained to FOX 13. “She passed away in October. It sucks. That’s why I say that cancer is a cancer.”
It was because of that, and his love of children, that he let their one rule go away for the day and allowed 3-year-old Trinity to sit in a tattoo parlor chair – with her feet barely over the edge of the seat – and get tattoos of her own. The artists used markers, and the tattoos are all temporary, of course.
Trinity, who is battling neuroblastoma, is infatuated with her father’s tattoos. So, her mother thought, “Why doesn’t she get her own?” Trinity also loves Disney movies and its characters. Her tattoos are all inspired from the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
"As a mom and as a parent, you don't want your kid to suffer,” Skyla D'Autorio explained. “You want to be able to fix it. This is one situation that I can't fix. I can’t take the cancer away, I can’t do the chemo for her. I can’t do any of the treatments or take the injections. All I can do is give her the best day I can, whenever I can, and her smile says it all."
Usually, the music booming through Ink Wolves is within the rock genre, but on Trinity’s day to get her own special ink, they played Disney-themed songs just for her.
“She doesn’t really fit the bill,” Nostrand said with a laugh, “but she’s worth it.”
On that special day, Trinity beamed, smiled and curiously looked on as the artists drew her a Stitch character and outlined the common Mickey Mouse ears onto her arms. She even handed the artists markers to help out.
“I’ve never been in a tattoo shop,” Skyla said. “I have no idea what to expect. I’m bringing a toddler into a tattoo shop. I mean, what am I doing?”
The tattoos will wash off after six days, but the fight against cancer will continue for young Trinity.
“People think when they hear cancer, they think adults, not kids. People think that you go to the hospital and you get your chemo and you’re good,” Skyla said. “Or Trinity’s hair is growing back and she’s doing better, but that’s not the case."
Trinity still has an inoperable tumor. Doctors are trying to figure out what to do next, her mother explained. In the meantime, her tattoo “sleeves” are a great way to raise awareness and forget about life for a second.
“We all love kids and even though there is a sign that says, ‘No Children. No Exceptions,’ we all love kids outside of the shop,” said Nostrand, “and we all love kids inside the shop too.”
LINK: You can follow Trinity’s journey on the Facebook page, “Trinity Tough."