Womanâ€™s tattoo idea helps nonprofit raise funds
Video by Michael Braun
Amy Dimon is looking to grow her army of apple-tattooed supportersÂ and take a bigger bite out of opioid abuse this year.
The tiny red and green tattooÂ started showing up on arms, legs, shoulders and wherever in Southwest Florida last year as part of the Fort Myers woman’s quest to vanquishÂ drug abuse, specifically opioids.
“I’m just trying to raise more,” Dimon said Sunday, referencing funds and awareness. But she has another, more personal reason as well. “Every time I do this I have people reach out. They don’t know who to talk to (about their addiction). It makes it easier to reach out for help. It helps awareness, too.”
Amy Dimon leads a fundraising event on Sunday in support of Saluscare at Altered Tattoo Company in south Fort Myers. Supporters received apple tattoos. Saluscare offers behavioral healthcare services in Southwest Florida. The next opportunity to support the effort is on July 24 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Go to news-press.com to learn more.Â (Photo: Kinfay Moroti/The News-Press USA Today Network-Florida)
All the ink and pain is for a good cause dreamed up by Dimon, 42, who was celebrating 11Â years of sobriety from an opioid addiction in 2018 and hopedÂ to raise $10,000 for Saluscare in thanks for the treatment center’s help in her recovery.
What she went through during her years of using and addiction drives her now. She wants others to get the help that is so hard for most people to find or even to ask for.
“When you’reÂ sick you don’t know how to reach out or to whom,” she said. “I just needed to know. I had no money, no resources.”
It started as aÂ challenge from her employer,Â Miami-based food supply companyÂ Mr. Greens, to give $1,000 to any employee who got a company logo tattoo.
Dimon ultimately convinced Mr. GreensÂ to donate $1,000 to Saluscare for each of up to 10 people who agree to have the company’s logoÂ â€” theÂ red outline of an apple with a green leafy stem â€” tattooed on their body.
Friends said that Dimon could have just walked away with the $1,000 but wanted to do more and help others as well.
A tattoo artist for Altered Tattoo Company, Rob Plante, agreed to ink the logo free of charge last year and is doing so again this year. Those who didn’t make it Sunday can get their tattoos between 12 and 6Â p.m. Wednesday.
The tattoo parlor recently moved to larger digs and now operates from 12575 Cleveland Ave., unit 3, inÂ Fort Myers.
She reached her 2018 goal and now is looking to go bigger.
Stacey Cook, president and CEO of Saluscare, said what Dimon is doing is phenomenal.
“It just diversifies how people get involved,” Cook said.Â
The change in the works this year, afterÂ Mr. Greens said they would again donate $1,000 per tattoo for the first 10, was to ask others to donate $10 for each logo tattoo.
Dimon has pledged $10 for 40 tattoos and there are others who have joined in as well to the tune of $70 per tattoo.
Jamie Valencia gets an apple tattoo from Rob Plantse on Sunday in support of a fundraising event for SalusCare at Altered Tattoo Company in south Fort Myers. SalusCare offers behavioral healthcare services in Southwest Florida. The next opportunity to support the effort is on July 24 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Â (Photo: Kinfay Moroti/The News-Press USA Today Network-Florida)
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Last year, after the 10 initial tats were inked, 30 more people joined in and had the logo placed.
Dimon also found a tattoo artist on the east coast, Michael Pucciarelli, of Altered States Tattoo in Boynton Beach, to ink a Mr. Greens logo on a woman who couldn’t find the time between work and childcare to head over here.
“She had three kids and she’s five years sober,” she said. “She couldn’t make it over here.”
A number of area residents did make it to the tattoo shop Sunday and got the little red emblem inked.
Amanda Buckner-Wood added to a number of arm tattoosÂ and cited a family reason for her decision.
“My mom has been sober for 31 years,” she said. “Without places like Saluscare I don’t know where she would be.”
She added that things like Dimon was doing helped raise awareness and brought attention to addiction.
Lia Martino, a local artist and friend of Dimon, also got her little green and red apple on Sunday.
“Amy’s my best friend,” she said. “I’m so proud of her for being sober 12 years and it’s for a really great cause.”
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To benefit Saluscare
The Mr. Greens logo tattoo will also be available at Altered Tattoo Company Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m.
There will also be a benefit for Saluscare at 7 p.m. on August 17 at the Broadway Palms Theater. For ticketsÂ go to saluscarecomedynight.com or call 239-791-1575. Only a few tickets remain available.
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