The Ironman Who Survived Cancer And Proposed

tattoodo in Stories

He specified that he wanted the Ironman tattoo, the engagement ring, and the race-winning/proposal date. Read more about this story here!

He survived cancer, proposed, and then got a tattoo! On October 17th, 2010, Martin was diagnosed with cancer. Up until then, Martin had been quite healthy and prided himself on his endurance skills, particularly running, biking, and swimming. Regardless, he now faced a terrible disease, which had major implications on his life. This is the story of how he overcame cancer and went on to beat all the physical obstacles the disease left him with.

Martin went through severe treatment. Surgery to remove the tumor, a 5 month hospital stay with constant chemotherapy, and several months of follow up appointments. Fortunately, the treatments were effective and, after almost a year of battle, the cancer was gone. However, the doctors now placed a new limitation on Martin's life: no more intense exercise. The entire process had been too harsh on his lungs and they would not be able to handle the strain from the endurance sports he loved so much.

Martin was a fighter though, he would never accept this. If he could beat cancer, then he could restore his body to its original strength. He would train as long as it took, as hard as he must, to attain this freedom. And in this sense, he needed something to drive him on, some event he would train for. Martin set his sights on the Ironman Race. If you are not aware of this, an Ironman Race is a complete Triathlon event, where you swim for 2.4 miles (3.86 km), bike for 112 miles (180.25 km), and run a FULL marathon of 26.2 miles (42.2 km). This is the Ultimate test of endurance.

My Doctor said: "Don't count on ever running a marathon"
My Doctor said: "Don't count on ever running a marathon"

Martin trained and trained. For an entire year he trained. Day after day, through summer and winter, nothing got in the way of his goal. And through this process his body healed and became stronger. On August 18th, 2013, Martin completed the Copenhagen Ironman race. How did he celebrate this victory? He proposed to his girlfriend. His girlfriend who had nursed him through the cancer, pushed him through the training, and cheered him on all the way to the finish line.

She said YES!
She said YES!

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This has been the most important experience of Martin's life so far. He went from a hospital bed to the ultimate victory and all the moments in between will give him perspective for his entire life. To celebrate this, Martin decided to immortalize the achievement on his body with ink. That's where we came in!
Martin had no tattoos, so he had no idea of how the process worked. How would he transform this entire 3 year experience into one single tribute tattoo? Martin went to his local tattoo artist and told his story. The artist then sketched up a quick design. While the artist had understood the meaningfulness of the entire experience, that quick sketch couldn't capture all the details in a way that Martin loved and so they didn't move forward. Would Martin have to go to several different artists and keep telling his story and getting these sketches? How many would it take before he found the perfect design?

That's when Martin found Tattoodo. He had been searching for custom tattoo designs and we popped up online. After checking out our site and our services, he decided to go for the Custom Tattoo Design Contest. Afterall, he would get at least 10 designs so the chances of finding something he liked were higher and, in case none of them were to his liking, he could call on Tattoodo's money-back guarantee...there was no risk! Martin set up his contest and encouraged Tattoodo's artists to use their creativity in making his design.

Preview of Martin's design contest.
Preview of Martin's design contest.

In his brief, Martin specified that he wanted the Ironman logo, the engagement ring, and the race-winning/proposal date. He also requested that they include a medicine staff, which is the Rod of Asclepius, symbolizing his victory over cancer. And then his idea for the ironman tattoo was born! In the end, Martin received more than 30 designs and, who would've guessed it, he ended up with one that truly captured the essence and meaning of his idea. He loved it.

A few of the top designs submitted.
A few of the top designs submitted.
The Winning Design by Artillerie!
The Winning Design by Artillerie!

But Martin didn't know any good shops! So we referred him to one of our recommended shops, LeFix, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Tim, in action at LeFix.
Tim, in action at LeFix.
The ironman tattoo
The ironman tattoo
Martin
Martin
The Ironman! - Photos by Mike Nybroe, www.mikenybroe.com.
The Ironman! - Photos by Mike Nybroe, www.mikenybroe.com.

We shared Martin's amazing story to inspire you. We hope that you also will have this type of strength and perseverance in any situation, good or bad, that you may face in your life. And, in case you are planning on getting a tribute tattoo to celebrate such a life achievement, we would love to help! Tattoodo's got your back!

Last thing! Martin wanted to share his take on the whole experience with you guys:

A couple of days after launching the contest, the first designs came in and I was absolutely amazed. The artists all had their personal ways to interpret my story and come up with a suitable suggestion for the design. Some were not exactly what I had had in mind, while others were way better than I had hoped for. I actually ended up having a really hard time deciding which design should win my contest. I just got so many excellent designs to choose from. After my contest at Tattoodo I have become even more convinced about getting my tattoo. It is the perfect place to find a design you find personal and optimal. Now, we're off to Martin's wedding!

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