Ink Ribbon and Shango partner to provide scar cover-up tattoos
Ink Ribbon breast cancer charity founder Kim Maddi wasn’t expecting a donation from Shango Las Vegas in 2020. In this year of serious health and economic challenges, charitable foundations such as hers have been suffering a significant decrease in donations. Some are getting nothing at all.
But for a third consecutive year, Shango, a sponsoring partner of Ink Ribbon Foundation, stepped up and donated $3,750.
“I was shocked and humbled to find out we were getting so much,” Maddi said after receiving the check. “Shango loves to give back to the community and I’ve seen it in so many ways over the years, for not just us but for other community organizations. And while Shango always has been exceptionally generous, this was over the top.”
Ink Ribbon provides mastectomy patients in the Las Vegas area with tattoos that help conceal surgical scars and restore missing areolas.
Maddi’s foundation is a rare, cannabis-friendly charity. Many breast cancer charities across America do not accept donations from cannabis companies. In fact, the largest national nonprofit organizations shun any contributions that stem from cannabis.
“When I was first diagnosed, I promised my daughters I would do anything to fight this disease whether through traditional Western treatments or anything else I could find that would heal me to ensure my survival,” Maddi said. “I would expect anyone who has been diagnosed with any disease to be open to anything, as long as it works.
“There is so much evidence that cannabis products are helpful for a variety of different ailments,” she continued. “When the fine folks at Shango asked if my foundation would take donations from a cannabis company, my answer was a resounding YES! Together we have been able to truly help women heal from the outside in.”
Each Ink Ribbon patient receives a private consultation with a tattoo artist to determine the design of her traditional scar cover-up or 3D nipple tattoo. After the tattoos heal, Ink Ribbon conducts a closed-set photo shoot by Casey Jade Photography, which includes a hair and makeup session with hair stylist and makeup artist Jessica Reid Fox. In all, the services provided by Ink Ribbon cost about $1,000 per patient.
“I wanted a way to give back to my new community of survivors in a real and tangible way, while also making mastectomy scar cover up tattoos more mainstream and accessible to those who want it,” Maddi said. “We are a little on the edgy side, which is why a partnership with the edgier side of natural medicine is a perfect fit.”
“Shango believes in building long-term relationships with purposeful local charities,” said Brandon Rexroad, Founder/CEO of Shango. “Getting to know those who work for that charity gives us insight into their needs and goals. Shango wants to be directly linked to the results rather than donate money into a general fund. Shango donates services and financial awards to charities that make an immediate difference in someone’s life and Kim does just that.”
As one of the few Las Vegas nonprofits that serves breast cancer victims, Ink Ribbon relies on the local cannabis community for a large share of its donations. Shango raises money for Ink Ribbon from the sale of pink Shango merchandise at its cannabis dispensary on Boulder Highway in Las Vegas. The company’s donation has increased in each year of its sponsorship.
“It is amazing to us that Shango was able to increase their donation in 2020,” Maddi said. “These are tough times for everyone and far more challenging for cancer victims. We have all had to pivot and change the way we do business.”
Still, Maddi hopes to expand and provide more support services despite the poor climate for nonprofits. “We are growing because of the help of such a supportive organization like Shango,” she added. “And we are more grateful this year with our donations being down from 2019. Kudos to them and the cannabis business.”
“Ink Ribbon is a cause that’s very close to our hearts,” said Matt Gardiner, Vice President of Shango Las Vegas. “We all know someone who has suffered through this terrible disease. And we know their struggle can continue long after treatment and remission.
“Everyone at Shango is honored to help Ink Ribbon bring happiness, confidence and a sense of empowerment to the lives of breast cancer survivors,” Gardiner added. “We support their mission and share their vision for turning hardship into beauty and helping these courageous women feel better about themselves.”
“The emotional scars left behind from cancer can sometimes be overwhelming,” Maddi said. “After I received my tattoos, not only did I break down and cry, but I also felt a sense of relief. I felt like a great weight was lifted from me and I could finally look in mirror again with a smile on my face. A cover-up tattoo can help you take back control of your body and your mindset, and you can then move forward with confidence.”
Shango created its successful pink merchandise line four years ago to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It has included unisex T-shirts, grinders, rolling trays and lighters, which remain on sale year-round.
Shango’s other areas of charitable giving include: hats for breast cancer survivors and sponsoring a breast cancer awareness radio show in Oregon; aid to veterans programs such as Veterans Village; and disaster relief.
Shango educates the public about cannabis and CBD use at local health fairs and community forums. It also provides private consultations for anyone with cancer.
“If someone fighting cancer needs special attention, we will give it to them,” Rexroad said.
To donate or to view testimonials for the Ink Ribbon Foundation see www.inkribbonfoundation.org.
Photo Caption: Shango Las Vegas Vice President Matthew Gardiner presents a Big Check for $3,750 to Ink Ribbon Foundation’s Kim Maddi.