A great show of community support for the Morden Legion Branch 11 took place on Saturday with a Cancer tattoo fundraiser put on by the Neonothing Studio in Morden supported by The Commandos Canada Motorcycle Club (Red River Division) and The Gatemen Riding Club. 

The Commandos Canada Motorcycle Club is comprised of Canadian Veterans who have served their country and ride bikes, support veterans and their families.  The Gatemen are a club that works alongside them with the same goals, but are not veterans.   

Neonothing Studio Owner and Gatemen RC member Johnny Darko and Red River Commando President Jerry Hart approached Morden Legion President Tammy Petkau and a few executive members with an idea to raise money for the branch through a Cancer Tattoo fundraiser. 

Darko shared why it was important for him to spearhead the fundraiser. 

"I'm not an EMT or a firefighter. I don't pull people out of burning buildings, so this is a small way that I can contribute and do something good for the community. I was so blessed that my other artists all volunteered their time. They're working completely for free today, which is amazing. I didn't even have to try to convince them, they were on board before I even got half the sentence out. We're just really blessed today and we've got my club (The Gatemen) and The Commandos out front and just kind of playing the support role out there, while we're doing what we do in here and I'm really excited." 

Four artists rotated between four chairs for the day, applying Cancer tattoos first come, first serve. 

Hart added why it's important to get out to other communities in Manitoba for events like this. 

"This is a tremendous cause. It helps us as veterans and bikers. People see us as bikers, with long hair and all that stuff, but they don't see what we do for the community. So, when you can get community businesses involved, it's amazing because they bring in their friends, their locals and they get to see these aren't bad people, these are people looking after your people in your towns, your communities, and that's what it means to us." 

According to Hart, The Commandos connect veterans with the services they need and fundraise for areas such as medical needs, food, and transportation, along with mental health supports that fall outside of the coverage from Veteran's Affairs Canada and more. 

Forty-three people took part in the event, choosing one design from a selection of various Cancer Awareness Ribbons to indelibly put on their body.  

Lori Michaluk came with her 2 sisters, daughter and niece, sharing a common reason for getting their tattoos. 

"I'm here for the people I have lost. I lost my mother, my sister, my father, all to cancer and on the 20th of May, I lost my husband."  

Choking back tears, Michaluk continued, "We've talked about having a tattoo, me and my siblings for a long time. When this opportunity came up, it just seemed like it was meant to be. Cancer is a horrible disease. I believe pretty much every family has been touched by it at one time or another."  


Petkau emotionally shared the reason she rolled up her sleeve to be first in line to receive her first tattoo. 

"I've had two best friends go through cancer as well, so, it's a great cause and kind of a great cause for the Legion as well and to promote both." 

Petkau shared her reaction to getting the tattoo. 

"The experience was ok, not as bad as I thought. Bob Frost was by my side to help me if I needed anything, but it wasn't bad at all."  

 With 43 tattoos applied, donations and gift cards, $3885 was given to the Morden Legion Branch #11.  

Petkau expressed her gratitude for all who came out and for those who organized the day. 

"It's a great cause. It's a great way to communicate with the people here and they're a great bunch of people to raise funds for the Legion, and all the time to help the veterans and our community. So, it's wonderful."