Frank, one of the runners on the Broken Pancreas Marathon Team just got a tattoo to show his diabetes support. Here’s his story:

I had a heart attack at 38 from smoking for 25 years. That wasn’t enough to make me quit smoking. However, when my daughter was diagnosed with T1, I took a long hard look at what I was doing. I really thought that it was unfair that this beautiful little innocent girl, who, through no fault of her own, got hit with diabetes, and here I am, actively involved in my own really bad health choices.

She was diagnosed on 7/30/10. On her birthday that year (12/7/10) i gave her a card that said I would quit smoking by the end of the year. She was so happy. And I knew I had to replace that with something else, so I bought some running shoes. on 1/1/11, I quit smoking, and started running. A friend talked me into my first race, a 10K. To get me through that, I wrote “all for Stella” in sharpie on my arm, so if I got tired I could look at it and it would power me through. I have done something similar at every race. But what I really wanted was a tattoo, so that she would always be with me, and I could remember how strong and brave she is, to help me be the same. That little girl is my hero.

My friends own All In Ink, and they are huge supporters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They got Tommy Montoya from the reality show NY Ink to come out and do the blood drop tattoos. That started the wheels turning.

My daughter tests her blood anywhere from 10-15 times a day, and no 9 year old girl should have callouses on her hands. I called my friends up and asked if they would do my finger tip, and I explained why. They had no problem with it. So now, I have my blood drop tattoo on my middle finger of my left hand. Partly in honor of my daughter, partly as my tribute to all people suffering with diabetes, and partly as my little personal way of saying Eff You to diabetes. And now, whenever I start to struggle on a run I can look down at it, think of her, and it will get me through.