Tattoo artist Eric Catalano originally went into the industry to create works of art for people who wanted some interesting ink on their skin.
But when a man with two amputated fingers came in and asked about getting fake nails, the Illinois dad’s life changed forever!
Mark Bertram had lost a portion of his fingers in a work accident. While he was lucky to escape further harm, his hand would never look the same.
Wanting to add some humor to his situation, Mark stopped by Eternal Ink Tattoo Studio and asked Eric to put fingernails on each of his shortened digits. Everyone was having a good time with the idea — but then they saw the incredible result!
“The mood changed,” Eric said. “Everything turned from funny to ‘wow.'”
That’s when Eric realized his talent could do an indescribable amount of good!
In addition to offering traditional tattoos at his studio, Eric started holding “Wellness Wednesdays,” where he invites amputees, breast cancer survivors, and other people with medical scars to get free services. As a result, people’s lives are transforming because they’re able to reclaim their bodies!
“Financially, it doesn’t make sense,” Eric said. “But every time I see that emotion from my customers, I’m 100 percent sure this is something that I can’t stop doing.”
To ease the financial burden of this amazing service, Eric set up a GoFundMe where people can donate to cover the cost of these sessions.
“I would feel terrible charging the people who have already suffered pain and injury or battling life and death,” he wrote. “They’ve already been through so much.”
Strangers around the world were quick to respond! The campaign has already brought in tens of thousands of dollars. It has also allowed Eric to change the lives of more than 300 individuals, some of whom travel in from other countries!
“My goal here is to not only show these survivors some humanity with my free work, but also to be the final chapter to a long cancer journey or amputee story for them,” Eric added.
A lot of women come in and have documented their entire journey from start to finish, and they all say I am the end of the road. They can finally feel complete. You can’t beat hearing those words. I want these survivors to continue to come to me to get world-class, realistic tattoo work for free and end their story on a positive note.
It doesn’t get much more inspirational than this! Thank you, Eric, for all the work you’ve done to help your neighbors live their best lives!
Consider supporting Wellness Wednesdays by donating on GoFundMe and sharing this story with your friends.
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