Teen left his mark on tattooist
HIGH cancer statistics indicate all of us have been touched by cancer at some point in our lives whether it be our own battle or that of a loved one.
These statistics, coupled with the fierce battle of a brave cancer patient, inspired Airlie Beach tattoo artist Kevin Maxwell to start a fundraiser for the Paediatric Palliative Care Service at the John Hunter Children's Hospital in Newcastle .
Mr Maxwell, who works as a tattoo artist at Whitsunday Tattooing in Airlie Beach, met 17-year-old Kallan "Kal” Egar when he came through the parlour to get a sleeve tattooed.
Kal was battling terminal cancer in his heart and lungs following a relapse from osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.
The palliative care service provided support to Kal and his family so that he could remain at home towards the end of his illness.
"I just saw him deteriorate every session over the couple of years and I kind of grew a bit of a bond with him,” Mr Maxwell said. "I was quite touched by Kal's passing and just his positivity through his illness. It was inspiring.
"I just wanted to give back to a charity that was really helpful towards him and his family.”
Mr Maxwell decided to run a competition in May in which each person who donated $5 would go into the draw to win two full tattooing sessions or one full session with travel expenses paid.
More than 1000 people contributed to the cause, including the Whitsunday Sea Eagles who raised and donated $1000, bringing the total to more than $6500.
Mr Maxwell said he hoped to help other families suffering the same struggles as Kal as well as shine some light on how much tattoos can mean to people.
"There are some people who get tattoos for the wrong reason but there are a lot of people that get tattoos for the right reasons and Kal was definitely one of those guys,” he said.
"I wanted to change the outlook of some people's opinions on tattooing, because it's not something you normally see a tattoo artist doing.
"Every tattoo we did on Kal meant a great deal to him through his struggle and fight.”
Although the competition was drawn on June 4, donations for the Paediatric Palliative Care Service can still be made through the Kevin Maxwell Fund.