07/31/2012 10:19 am ET

Nick Christofano, Tattoo Shop Owner, Raises Money For Stepdaughter With Cancer

Unique Ink Tattoo in Greensburg, Pa., is usually closed on Sundays. But last weekend, shop owner Nick Christofano opened up for a very important cause: his 15-year-old stepdaughter, Shelby Sisco, who has cancer.

For 10 hours last Sunday, Nick and his coworkers tattooed around 50 customers in Shelby's honor and asked for donations. They raised roughly $5,000 to help with Shelby's medical bills, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Shelby was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in February. WTAE reports that, thankfully, she now is in remission, but Shelby spent weeks in the hospital before returning home.

The real purpose of the tattoo event, however, was not to raise money. "Our driving force was Shelby," Nick told The Huffington Post. "It's was all about her, no other reason. She needed to see all the people behind her in her fight."

Friends and family came to support Shelby and get some new ink. Her mom, Joei, got a ribbon with Shelby's name on it tattooed on her arm (see photos below).

Nick told HuffPost that the most exciting part for Shelby was seeing herself on the news following the event. "The smile on her face when she watched the news made it worth it," he said.

According to the the Post-Gazette, five other tattoo shops around the country, owned by friends of the family, plan to host similar fundraising events for Shelby this month.

Nick said Unique Ink plans to make the fundraiser an annual event, and next year it will benefit other families of children who have leukemia, or cancer research at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

LOOK: Photos of Shelby, her family and supporters:



Shelby's Fundraiser