Dying dad gets matching tattoos with 600 strangers so hell never be forgotten

Dying dad gets matching tattoos with 600 strangers so hell never be forgotten

12/09/2022

A terminally ill man has convinced 609 strangers to get matching tattoos with him so that people remember him when he dies.

Don Caskey, 56, was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, a stage four kidney cancer, in 2018 and was told he only had months to live.

He set himself a challenge to ask strangers to form a "connection" with him by getting a matching inking and the response was overwhelming.

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He's been travelling up and down the US for the past three years meeting up with people so that they can get inked together and taking video calls from people overseas.

The tattoos range from poignant memorials to children who have died through to wacky ones including "fun zone" emblazoned on his bum.

Don, from Ohio, said: "My oncologist said I've got months, it could be 40 months but I won't live ten more years.

"A couple of months after, I was sitting on my son's back patio. I already had six tattoos and I realised I remembered when I got all of my tattoos and what they meant.

"I figured that those memories of the tattoos will go with me when I pass away.

"I wanted to make more connections with people who I didn't know so I started asking random strangers to get tattoos with me.

"Part of the reason I started doing this is so these people remember me as well, so we have a human connection that not many people have.

"Getting a mark on each other’s bodies, a forever mark that they'll never forget and they’ll keep with them throughout life and afterwards, they'll take it with them when they go so we’re connected together forever by ink."

The dad-of-five started his mission by asking people in the street, in restaurants and in shopping malls, and has since had strangers from all over the world requesting to get matching body art with him.

One video shows him having a tattoo session with a woman called Liberty from London.

He explains to her that she's the 608th person that he found to get matching tattoos with.

They chat via a video call while both are getting an inking of the Statue of Liberty in a tattoo studio.

Don explained: "Tattoos will be based on whatever we have in common but I've had tattoos dedicated to kids who have passed away.

"I had 'fun zone' tattooed around my butthole with a girl, she wanted a camel on her big toe but I didn't want that.

"It takes about five minutes to figure it out. I've got a drug overdose ribbon for a man who lost two kids to heroin.

"I got the arm of the Statue of Liberty with the flame at the top and a Scottish thistle with a girl who lives in Scotland.

"I don't regret any of them, I have 609 people I have a connection with now.

"I haven't paid for one tattoo, if I had I would have spent about $40,000. Tattoo shops more often than not recognise me or I tell them my story and they donate their time to me."

Most of Don's tattoos are smaller than the palm of his hand meaning he still has space on his torso, thighs and feet that he hopes to fill with at least 1,500 more designs.

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