In 2006, Gandolfo’s mother, Michelle, was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. After two years of treatment, she was declared cancer-free. Earlier this year, Gandolfo discovered that the cancer returned and is now in her spine, ribs and the lymph nodes on the left side of her body.
“The chemo and all the procedures were $980 a month and eventually, my mom’s insurance dropped her,” said Gandolfo. “No other insurances will accept her now because of her preexisting condition.”
Gandolfo’s mother, Michelle, opened Fondue in 2000 at its Greenbrae Shopping Center West location.
“My mom went to another piercing salon and wasn’t very comfortable there,” said Gandolfo. “So, when she opened Fondue, she wanted it to be a place where a mother and daughter — average, everyday people — could come in together and get pierced. We are very comforting and family — friendly here.”
Those looking to get inked at Fondue for the fundraiser must get a charity ribbon of their choice tattooed somewhere on their body. Prices for each ribbon range from $30 to $50, with almost half of the cost of the tattoo donated. Which ever shop raises the most money by the end of October is named the winner.
“You have the option of donating to either the American Cancer Society or to my mom’s fund,” said Gandolfo.
Ribbon designs vary from simple, traditional ribbons with lots of color to a ribbon with monarch butterfly wings.
“We also have ‘Fu-- Cancer’ car decals for sale for $5,” said Gandolfo.
Laura Clift, a volunteer with the ACS, started the Get Inked fundraiser last year.
“At 42, I finally decided to get my first tattoo and I wanted a lavender ribbon — lavender is awareness for all cancers,” said Clift. “I didn’t know who to go to, so I started asking around and got in touch with a few shops. Then the light bulb popped up over my head. Why not get as many shops on board as possible to compete to raise the most money by doing cancer awareness ribbon tattoos?”
“We heard about the contest last year but it was too late to participate,” said Gandolfo. “Laura ‘Facebooked’ us about it this year and we jumped at the chance. It’s a great cause and it’s fun to have some friendly competition.”
Last year, the participating shops raised $3,700. Clift hopes that this year the money raised will double last year’s amount.
“Five people have already come in to get a ribbon inked on them,” said Veronica Teschera, a tattooer at Fondue. “And I have a bunch of appointments scheduled this weekend.”
Helping the families that the American Cancer Society assists is the reason why Gandolfo wanted to participate in Get Inked.
“This is such a great cause,” said Gandolfo. “The American Cancer Society helps so many people, especially people without insurance and who aren’t financially stable. Any way we can help is great.”
Fondue also features weekly specials on its Facebook page and will offer discounts for the upcoming holiday season, ranging from marked down piercings and tattoos to zombie make-up packages for the Halloween season.
“I’m so happy to participate and help. So many people have helped my mom,” said Gandolfo. “We’ve received a lot of donations and support from local businesses and the Sparks community. We’re all a family.”
For more information about the American Cancer Society’s Get Inked campaign, visit www.facebook.com/getinkedrenosparks.