If you walk into Primary Concepts on Feb. 2, it’ll seem just like a normal day for one of Davis’ neighborhood tattoo shops. You’ll see various pieces of art and tattoo flash sheets adorning the walls, hear the buzzing of tattoo guns and the murmur of conversation between artists and customers.
Only one thing will seem strange: Everyone there will be getting the same tattoo. A cancer ribbon. They’re all there for Primary Concepts’ “Tattoos Fighting Cancer” event, in support of little Jeffrey Matthew Fagan.
“I’ve known Jeffrey’s dad for a long time,” says Phil Geck, owner of Primary Concepts. “We went to high school together and I’ve been tattooing him for about five or 10 years. About six months ago, he called me to cancel his tattoo appointment because they had found a lump in his son’s chest.”
The lump turned out to be cancer, and Jeffrey was diagnosed with lymphoma at the age of two. Since the tumor is too close to his trachea, surgery is not an option, and he will undergo two years of chemotherapy. Jeffrey is already several months into his treatment.
“It’s been a bumpy road,” said Jeff Fagan, Jeffrey’s dad. “But he’s a strong, tough, happy kid. When he’s feeling OK, you wouldn’t even know he was sick, other than his bald head.”
Jeffrey’s parents, Jeff and Brianne Fagan, are having difficulties paying for Jeffrey’s medical bills while still supporting themselves and their five-year-old daughter Zoey. Jeff hasn’t been able to work since the diagnosis, and the two juggle watching the children with almost daily trips from Vacaville to Sacramento for their son’s treatments.
Thankfully, the Fagan family has received nothing but care and support from those closest to them.
“Friends have put together fundraisers before, and that’s what’s really keeping us afloat,” Fagan said.
What makes Geck’s fundraising event stand out from the others is that when you give, you get something permanent in return. “Tattoos Fighting Cancer” will feature ten different artists, all available to tattoo any color cancer ribbon for only $20.
“People want to show support with these tattoos for their loved ones that are suffering from or have passed away from cancer,” Geck said. “Our tattoos are usually a minimum of $70 or $80, but we chose to offer these for $20 to make it more accessible for those interested.”
The money paid for each tattoo will go directly to Jeffrey’s family.
Primary Concepts is also holding an art auction at the same time and place as the tattoo event, for individuals who don’t want tattoos but wish to contribute.
“We’re going to have a lot of handmade art pieces, and we’ll be selling them off via raffle,” Geck said.
For those who can’t make it on Saturday but still want to show their support, Geck has set up a fundraising website on gofundme.com to help Jeffrey’s cause.
“I think it’ll be the first of many,” Geck said of the event. “There are a lot of people out there with cancer, and I think we can try and help some of them.”
The Fagan family is thankful for the support.
“We really appreciate the help that we’ve received from Phil and everybody that’s stepped up for us during this hard part in our life,” Fagan said. “I’d just like to convey that we don’t want people to feel sorry for us. It’s something that happens that’s hard for our family, but at the same time we’re trying to stay positive, beat the cancer and move on with our lives.”
“Tattoos Fighting Cancer” will be taking place from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday at Primary Concepts on 219 E Street. To donate online, go to gofundme.com/1v3e54. For any questions, call (530) 400-9622.
TANYA AZARI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.