Rita Fitzpatrick of Delgany, County Wicklow, celebrated her 85th birthday this week by becoming the first tattoo recipient in the annual Tattoo-Drive for Irish mental-health promoters, JC Foundation.
The grandmother was joined by daughter, Sam Donohoe (52), and granddaughter Hazel Donohoe, (16) who each had a simple love-heart tattoo applied, the design selected for this year’s fundraiser.
The official Tattoo-Drive takes place on Saturday 2nd October next, at The Ink Factory on 15 Wellington Quay and at 19 Parliament Street, in Dublin’s Temple Bar.
On the day, a volunteer team of fifteen tattoo artists will tattoo the love-heart design, in return for a €50 donation to the foundation. It is hoped the campaign will raise €20,000 to fund 365 free therapy sessions for young adults.
Bookings have been pouring in on the Instagram and Facebook accounts of JC Foundation and The Ink Factory, and walk-in tattoos will also be available on the day, between 11am and 7pm. Stylish branded merchandise will be available to buy, so those who don’t want a tattoo can contribute, and donations can be made online too.
In the last year, mental health suffering touched many individuals and families, Rita Fitzpatrick said of her novel birthday celebration.
“I am delighted to help publicise the great work of The Ink Factory and JC Foundation, and to congratulate them on doing something very practical and caring to help troubled young people.”
Campaign organiser, Rob Connolly, says the heart tattoo was selected as a powerful symbol of love and the empathy felt for those suffering, directly or indirectly, with mental-health issues.
“Every cent raised on the day will go towards the foundation’s mission of delivering free therapy sessions for those young people most in need, who couldn’t otherwise afford help.”
JC Foundation was established in recent years in response to the tragic loss of John Connolly, the founder of The Ink Factory, by suicide. John was aged 33 when he died, and his brother and former colleagues dedicate their fundraising efforts to his memory.
Foundation partner PIERCED will also be donating a percentage of piercing charges on the day, from their outlets in Camden Street, the Jervis Street Shopping Centre and The Square Town Centre in Tallaght.
The Ink Factory and PIERCED are passionate about positive mental-health promotion and intervention. They have already raised over €60,000 with previous tattoo-drives. The Foundation is establishing online resources and social media channels to share mental-health tips and coping mechanisms, and encouraging those suffering to seek help.
The Foundation website has online applications for the 365 therapy sessions, available to 18 to 25-year-olds who cannot afford professional help themselves. For more information about the organisation visit jcfoundation.ie