New Kensington tattoo shop offers ‘ink’ to help leukemia patient
Life right now for 14-year-old Veanna Pollard and her family revolves around her blood.
Just over a month ago she was diagnosed with leukemia — a cancer affecting the blood. It means monitoring white blood cell counts and undergoing rounds of chemotherapy to push life-saving drugs into her veins.
Her blood has also helped her find her mantra.
“Her blood type is B-positive, and she told me she’s going to ‘be positive,’ ” said Veanna’s mother, Patty Pollard of Buffalo Township.
For the quiet teenager and family on Sunday, though, life revolved around ink.
A fundraiser at True Image Tattoo in New Kensington offered tattoos for a $50 donation, with the money going toward whatever expenses the Pollard family incurs for Veanna’s care.
True Image owner Cheri Croney said one of her longtime tattoo artists, Fuz Brand, came to her with Veanna’s story, and, together, they came up with the fundraiser.
Croney’s husband was killed in 2015. She said survivors must stick together.
“Survivors come in different forms. I’m a survivor, she’s a survivor,” Croney said, gesturing to Veanna. “The best thing we can do is support each other.”
She said the outpouring of community support in the aftermath of her husband’s death pushed her to become even more involved in her community.
“We give to the community because the community gave back to us,” Croney said. “Today, to see all these people — it just gives me goosebumps. They don’t even know her, and they want to help.”
For most who turned out, it was the opportunity to add to their ink collection while helping a family in need.
“It’s just a good cause,” said Megan Neuhausel of Cheswick. “I love the shop. My family has been coming here since I was little.”
Croney said people were lined up before the fundraiser kicked off at 1 p.m., and the available time slots were all taken by 3 p.m.
Those getting tattoos could pick from sheets of predesigned options. Piercings were also available for a $20 donation. Anyone wanting to make a donation to the family after the fact can drop it off or mail it to the Freeport Street tattoo studio.
The outpouring overwhelmed Pollard.
“This is more than I ever expected today,” she said. “It’s amazing. I’m trying not to cry today.”
There was no time, anyway — Veanna needed to be back at the hospital before evening, the next step in a long journey toward remission. Starting Friday, she’ll begin receiving treatment four days a week.
“We just take it day by day. She runs the show,” she said, looking to her daughter. “Her body runs the show right now.”
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .