How Colorectal Cancer became Clint Cummings Legacy of Hope


How do you define a hero?  Some would say it’s the soldier standing guard, others it’s the police and fireman, or the parent giving their life saving a child.  All of these people have one thing in common:  They are common people facing extraordinary circumstances.  Here the hero is a person who shows you how to live in the face of adversity.

Clint Cummings was on the top of his game:  An amazing tattoo artist who owned his own shop Sparrows Tattoo, alumni of Spike Ink Master’s second and with a hit television show, Tattoo Nightmares Miami. On January 1st 2016, all of that came to a sudden stop when he was diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer. 

When someone mentions Colorectal Cancer, most people think about a man in his mid-fifties or later and not someone like Clint who was only thirty-five. Colorectal cancer was exactly the announcement when Clint went onto his Instagram January 30 to announce to the world his diagnosis.  That was also when his friends and family started pushing his legacy forward without even realizing it. 

Chonna and Zac “lefty” Colbert started making calls and did the near impossible task of planning and pulling off a benefit.  The day started with the throaty roar of two dozen or more motorcycles as Clint’s mother Renee “Nay Nay” Cummings pulled into the lot of a strip mall Sunday, February 28th 2016.  For at least five minutes the stream of bikes rolled in and parked in orderly lines outside Zac “lefty” Colbert’s Infamous Ink tattoos


The crowds started lining up outside the door ninety minutes before the door opened and wouldn’t stop until after 9 pm.  Inside the shop every artist station was filled including the piercing station as people flowed in as their numbers were called. The whole event had the air of a carnival and tattoo convention combined with bands entertaining the crowds and a BBQ tent set up to feed them.  Chonna and Lefty are a shining example of what many people aspire to and at the end of the benefit raised over $21,000 for Clint.

I’m Rad and So Are You!

I’m Rad and So Are You!

Have you ever felt like you were the only one suffering?  Maybe you have been depressed or suffered from anxiety.  Robbie Ripoll started the I’m Rad Movement to help deal with such strong negatives in a person’s life out of a desire to help others even as he sought a more positive life.

Robbie is an accomplished tattoo artist who has also participated in Ink Master during season 5 where his difficulties with his brother Jayvo Scott were highlighted as part of the Rivals theme of the season.  Those negative emotions coupled with his weight and health issues are the impetus of the I’m Rad Movement where Robbie has pushed his grass roots movement to help others understand that they are not alone.

The I’m Rad Movement is one of several things Robbie Ripoll has going on and The Twisted Tattoo Collector podcast will have all the details, plus my incredible new tattoo he did while I was in Lafayette to interview Robbie.  Make sure you tune in and listen to the all new podcast airing August 16th right here.

In case you didn’t already know You’re Rad and there are others out there dealing with the exact same issues you are and who want to help you through it.

Join the Instagram today and share your story.  Need more info contact the Twisted Tattoo Collector

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Biomarked is officially part of Clint Cummings Legacy.

This week Fight Colo-Rectal Cancer announced their new program BIOMARKED would be dedicated to Clint Cummings.  This was another chapter in the incredible legacy Clint leaves behind.  His shop, Sparrows Tattoo, is now run by his mother and father Renee and Lenny Cummings and they

have dedicated themselves to colo-rectal cancer advocacy.


The Biomarker program seeks to help patients of colo-rectal cancer fight a more precision fight by identifying the genetic mutations of the patient’s cancer.  This method of identification allows doctors to better customize a treatment plan and increase the patients chances of success.


Clint’s mother Renee “Nay Nay” Cummings was proud to participate in this program and said “This was important to Clint.  He always wanted to be remembered and I think he’d be proud.”


Remember to always consult your physician and not just “listen” to some guy on the internet.  The Twisted Tattoo Collector wants you to be informed and most importantly wants you to succeed.  Be informed and participate in your own healthcare.



Get your information Packet NOW!!

Save the Booty y’all!

This is how Cancer Gets Beat!

Last week’s post covered some of the prevention aspects of Colorectal Cancer and included a provocative title.  That title #FuckCancer is a hashtag that was taken to viral status by Yael Cohen Braun and grew out of control as she merged with #F*ckCancer to form a single 501(c) entity which targets Generation Connected (gen C).  Yael has had great luck with an irreverent and shocking attitude that grabs the rapid pace of modern social media and gains folllwers, reaction and momentum with every post.


Yael is joined by the originator of #F*ckCancer Julie Greenbaum who was also generating content and teaching about cancer in all its forms.  This movement is visceral and while some don’t understand the vulgar name and are even revolted by the language it stands as a battle cry.  Cancer doesn’t discriminate and most people know someone who has been affected.


What it means as a battle cry is unification of purpose in facing a real live monster in our midst.  This hashtag crosses every boundary known to man.  It affects people no matter their sex, their skin color.  It doesn’t care about sexual preference or religion.  Cancer simply kills and organizations like Fuck Cancer are standing at the forefront driving dollars into research and sharing stories of triumph over the disease.


Yael Cohen Braun’s message began from her mothers breast cancer diagnoses and shares the same goals as it did on its founding in 2009.  Her goal was to entice people to discuss and learn more about the disease and to foster a dialogue with younger individuals whose lives were affected by cancer.


During Clint Cummings fight against colorectal cancer the hashtag became a challenge in the face of the disease calling his family, friends and fans attention to a cancer that is actually less attractive than other cancers.  Breast cancer has save the tatas, pink ribbons and walks and colorectal has… well, a rectum.  Who wants to talk about that?


Clint inspired everyone around him and embraced everything that was going on.  After his first surgery he was wearing a colostomy bag and facing the fact he may never remove it.  Did it get him down?  Of course not.  He strapped it on and agreed to an interview with 24/7 magazine where he did a cover shoot with the bag in plain sight.


Clints family shoulder the burden of living after the disease has taken him.  They do so with memories and advocacy.  Still reaching out and helping others.  His mother Renee still shares videos, raises money and shares her pain and experiences with others.  This is how cancer will ultimately be beaten and the true definition of #fuckCancer.

One Tattoo convention shows how quickly the Army can change.

One Tattoo convention shows how quickly the Army can change.

Sign at entrance to convention held on Ft. Bliss. (Photo by Doug Schwartz 2017)


Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler considered tattooed soldiers as substandard and unnecessary to a peace time army. His belief led to some of the most restrictive tattoo regulations in the history of the United States Army. Those regulations limited locations on a soldier to not being visible while in a physical training uniform.

The policy published in March of 2014 is part of AR 670-1 (see para. 3–3. Tattoo, Branding, and Body Mutilation Policy). The policy required commanders to examine all of a soldiers existing tattoos and make notes of them. This section also eliminates any enlisted member from being able to seek an officers commission if they have more than four tattoos even if grandfathered.

Artist Jason Tidwell tattooing soldiers at Star City Tattoo Expo on Fort Bliss. (Photo by Doug Schwartz, 2017)

This restriction cost the army good soldiers like Sergeant Brian Xavier whose request for the green to gold program, which would have seen him commissioned in the Army as a Second Lieutenant, was denied due to the tattoo policy under this regulation. Sgt. Xavier said “I decided to get out after my enlistment is up in May. I planned on staying in the army until I retired but now I’m moving on.” This story is not uncommon after Chandler’s personal crusade against tattoos swept into being. “It was like we were good enough to fight but Chandler didn’t want us to be seen. I heard that he questioned our dedication simply because of our tattoos” said Brian.

(photo by Doug Schwartz, 2017)

It didn’t take long after Chandler was replaced by Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) Daniel Dailey that things began to change. SMA Dailey learned from troops that one of the major morale issues was the tattoo policy. AR 670-1 was published April of 2015 and repealed the majority of Chandlers points.

Lieutenant B. Wright pointed out “I was denied because of my tattoos at first and after the new 670-1 came out I got a second chance. I’ll admit I thought I was getting out before SMA Dailey corrected what I thought was a pretty big mistake.” Lieutenant Wright was getting a tattoo at this years Star City Tattoo Expo on Ft. Bliss, Texas.

Mike Alqassimi’s secret to success with the Star City Tattoo Expo

Mike Alqassimi’s secret to success with the Star City Tattoo Expo

March 26, 2017


Doug Schwartz

Mike Alqassimi is the type of person who just puts it out there and rolls with whatever life has to throw at him. Unlike so many people he sees possibilities in the world around him and he embraces his friends who seem to feed off his enthusiasm and positivity. The strong ties he surrounds himself with are the key to his success according to him and from what I saw I believe it.

El Paso 2017-19
El Paso 2017-20

Shortly after leaving the Army Mike began getting tattooed by Omar Orozco in El Paso which led to a lifelong friendship. Mike quickly became enmeshed in the tattoo industry and when the owner of Aspired Vision sought to sell Mike saw his chance. Even owning his own shop wasn’t challenge enough so he decided to throw a tattoo convention, in El Paso, on an Army Post when tattoos were considered taboo by the Sergeant Major of the Army who had just re-written the armies regulations on the subject.

El Paso 2017-8
El Paso 2017-6

After the convention, I had a chance to sit down with Mike and find out more about how the show developed. You can see some scenes from the convention along with Mike’s determination to put on a world class show by watching the video above.

Follow Mike and his crew @

or the Expo page

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