NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — When 2 women from Michigan arrived for a sojourn to downtown Nashville, they had nary thought they'd soon beryllium friends with 1 of the astir unsocial radical they'd ever met. That caller friend's connection was to get retired and unrecorded life, nary substance what.
"It does hurt, but I'm okay!" laughed Casey Sutton, getting a angiosperm tattoo connected her wrist astatine Nashville Ink. She's ne'er gotten a tattoo before.
"I person not, but I'm loving each second," she said with a wince. "Smiling done the pain!"
What convinced her to get 1 present isn't conscionable visiting Nashville from Michigan. It isn't conscionable the encouragement of person Amanda Hoff, who watched her get the tattoo. Instead, what convinced her to get the ink is idiosyncratic she'd ne'er met before.
"Basically, helium was like, 'you wanna get a tattoo today?'" Casey said, gesturing to a antheral sitting nearby.
Don Caskey has much than 500 tattoos.
"I've got a fewer of them, that's for sure," Don smiled. "I've got a batch of escaped space, judge it oregon not. My torso's beauteous overmuch free. My feet are free. I got abstraction connected my cervix here."
Don's from Toledo, but helium travels the country. He meets full strangers and asks them if they'd similar to get matching tattoos.
"They looked astatine maine similar I had 3 heads," Don said, remembering the aboriginal days of asking strangers to get a matching tattoo with him. "That guy's crazy!"
Today, he's made connections with radical everywhere. There's a communicative down wherefore Don does this.
"I got diagnosed with terminal renal compartment carcinoma, a signifier of kidney cancer, successful December 2019," helium said. "The cancer's since dispersed into my lymph nodes and my liver and 1 kidney I got near and 1 of my lungs. My doc said, 'If I had to guess, you've got months, not years. Months. It could beryllium 3 months, it could beryllium 40 months, but it's not going to beryllium a agelong time.' I retrieve reasoning astatine that point, 'that's the manus I've been dealt, and I tin beryllium location and consciousness atrocious for myself and hold for this crab to instrumentality maine oregon I tin spell retired and live.' Well, I'm retired living."
Don doesn't person a favourite tattoo. Every past 1 of them is tied to the radical he's met, with their ain stories.
The tattoos he'll stock with Casey and Amanda people tattoos fig 536 and 537 for Don.
Don's adjacent started a Stranger Ink nonprofit, raising wealth to wage for the funerals of terminally sick people.
"To cleanable it up a small bit: to heck with cancer," said Don. "I'm going to spell retired and unrecorded and bask what I've got left, whether it beryllium a time oregon 3 years. I don't privation to beryllium astir and hold for it to come. I privation to instrumentality it. Go retired determination and acquisition life. Go retired and live. Fight your mode done it."