On August 20th, Hanna Sandstrom brought the tattoo community together. It wasn’t under the best of circumstances, and she was sharing deeply personal aspects of her life, but her post immediately connected hundreds of humans around the world who reached out with supportive thoughts and loving words. “I never in a million years thought I'd be in this situation, but some things we can't control,” Hanna said, in a caption imbuing resilience. “I was recently diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, and it has put a screeching stop to everything in my life, including work.”
The GoFundMe fundraiser, organized by her husband Jamie King, has seen an immense amount of encouragement. People are giving what they can, sharing the fundraiser on their socials, and commenting with affection. The funds raised for Hanna’s treatment are integral to her health...stress isn’t conducive to healing, and medical bills are certainly a huge burden. Hanna has had to step away from her creative work for now, which means not only a serious loss of income but a cathartic outlet that is essential for all artists. She’s hoping that prints and paintings will be available soon, but until then the GoFundMe fundraiser has been a way to raise much needed funds and support from a community that Hanna is deeply devoted to.
Two weeks ago Hanna started chemotherapy; a daunting aspect of cancer treatment. “I have decided to see the chemo as a friend. I decided that I have to welcome it, that we are allies working together. The mind body connection is so strong and I feel like it will help with the side effects of the chemo. If I resist and fear the treatments my body will respond accordingly, but instead I see it as my micro warriors going to battle for us, and we stand united, to help make them as efficient as possible. I see them as good positive light fighting off the dark.”
For the many people who haven’t had cancer come in contact with their life, or the life of a loved one, it can be hard to wrap your mind around the emotional, physical and monetary toll of cancer treatment. It can be insanely expensive, stressful, and hard...that’s putting it lightly. But Hanna’s outlook is strong. She’s being really transparent, confident, full of grace, and asking for help when she needs it.
...this support will allow her to focus 100% on getting well and knuckling down for perhaps the biggest fight of her life.
After the flood of adoration and care from tattoo artists, collectors, art aficionados, strangers and more, who were donating to the GoFundMe, Jamie said, “Gratitude doesn't even convey what we're feeling. While money won't necessarily solve our problems, this support will allow her to focus 100% on getting well and knuckling down for perhaps the biggest fight of her life. The outpour of love and support for this woman and us has humbled me in a way that's only been rivaled by what we have on the horizon. I hope I'll have a chance to repay the generosity someday to each and every one of you. I love tattooing, I love this community I'm able to be a part of and I love this lady. God bless you all.”
...I am eternally grateful for this community. We have an army by our side in this battle...
Hanna mirrored his sentiments saying, “Words can't even begin to describe the gratitude and humility Jamie King and I are feeling at the absolutely mind blowing kindness and love shown in our darkest of times. From the bottom of my heart, all I can try to say is Thank You. For every generous donation, no matter how small, every offer of help and support, every kind thought and every encouraging word. For every single person whose taken a moment to send us good thoughts and healing. Every single one is heard, seen and deeply felt. We are deeply moved...I am eternally grateful for this community. For family, friends, even strangers. We have an army by our side in this battle, and there is not a sliver of doubt in my mind that we will win!”
Her words are partly indicative of why her artwork resonates with so many people...because the person behind the visuals puts so much passion into every element of life. You can see it in her prints, her pieces, her merch….and what she says. She’s authentic, tough, but full of compassion, hope, and vivacity. It’s inspiring for people who are admirers of her creations, collectors of her tattoos, friends, family, and even others out there fighting against their own set of physical or psychological obstacles.
“Anything we resist, be it chemo or difficult emotional hurdles in life we have to get past, will only be made harder by the resistance. We have to embrace it and become one with the process to help it work and make us stronger. We are going in to battle now, and battles hurt, be it illness or emotional pain, but pain is temporary and being strong enough to go through it only makes us stronger...I will have horrible days ahead when this mindset will be hard to keep, but that's ok. It's my core philosophy and I can always remind myself of it to get myself through.” Promoting positivity, honestly embracing the bad days to come, and all the while incredibly grateful for the community around her, with her warrior perspective and the beautiful support system around her: Hanna’s gonna beat this.