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Crohn’s Disease-Inspired Tattoos

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  • Heart on your sleeve

    Heart on your sleeve

    Thanks to everyone who submitted a photo of their tattoo and the inspiration behind it. Getting inked can be a powerful reminder that you’re stronger than your condition and a great way to raise awareness.

    If you’d like to share the story behind your Crohn’s disease tattoo, email us with the subject line “My Crohn’s Tattoo” and be sure to include: a photo of your tattoo, a short description of why you got it or why you love it, and your name.

  • Acceptance is key

    Acceptance is key

    “Acceptance is the key to life.” You have to accept your disease so you can move forward with your life!

    — Toby

  • Fearless


    My name is Jenn Depre, and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2010 when I was 14 years old. My health has only improved! It has been a long battle and difficult to form relationships with people who certainly don’t understand the disease. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the support from my boyfriend and family.

    — Jenn Depre

  • Butterflies for Crohn’s awareness

    Butterflies for Crohn’s awareness

    My name is Reanne White, and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in July 2014. I suffered for many years, not knowing I had Crohn’s disease. After being diagnosed, I decided that I wanted to get a tattoo. I chose to go with the Crohn’s awareness ribbon (heart shape) and a butterfly.

    Butterflies are a big part of my family, and when I looked up different things to do with Crohn’s awareness, I saw a lot of butterflies. I just knew that this was the tattoo for me. I drew the heart ribbon myself. Every time I look at my tattoo I know that I am not alone in this battle.

    — Reanne White

  • Gaining strength through pain

    Gaining strength through pain

    I got diagnosed with Crohn’s when I was 21. I had no idea what it was until the doctor explained it to me! I have had two surgeries resulting in a very large scar all the way down my stomach. There are too many people in this world that have no idea [about Crohn’s] and should be aware of this terrible disease! I have gained strength in life through the pain I endure!

    — Mistie

  • Fighter


    I got this tattoo on the one-year anniversary of my resection. I never knew how strong I was until I spent almost a month in the hospital. The boxing gloves represent being a fighter, and the color is, of course, for Crohn’s awareness.

    — Elizabeth

  • A long, hard road

    A long, hard road

    The tattoo is on my left wrist, and it’s tattered because it’s such a hard road to live with IBD.

    — Jenni Schaeffer

  • Toughing it out with support

    Toughing it out with support

    My wife had this done by her cousin for me. We have been married for almost 13 years, and she has been through a lot with me. We live in Alaska and are originally from Minnesota. We have made many trips to the Mayo Clinic, but we love Alaska and don’t want to leave. Treatment is tough with the lack of doctors, but we tough it out. Thanks, wife, I love you!

    — Anonymous

  • Hold on — pain ends

    Hold on — pain ends

    I’ve had Crohn’s for about 27 years. I’ve always used the phrase “Hold on — pain ends.” After five surgeries, a temporary ileostomy that lasted nine years, and chronic pain from this disease, this phrase and my belief in God keep me fighting.

    — C.J. Simpson

  • The hero of your own story

    The hero of your own story

    My Crohn’s tattoo came after a very rough year with Crohn’s. I had been through a lot in such a short period of time that the tattered ribbon made the most sense. It’s on my chest so I can see it and others can see it. The words “I’m the hero in this story” came later and just made sense to me.

    — Lexi

  • Fighting on

    Fighting on

    After I was diagnosed with Crohn’s three years ago, I got this tattoo of a Muay Thai fighter with the purple Crohn’s awareness ribbon around his neck. Through all the times I’ve been sick because of Crohn’s, training in Muay Thai has been one of the things that have kept me mentally strong and motivated to fight this illness and get the most out of life despite it. The tattoo symbolizes my ongoing fight and reminds me to keep fighting.

    — Daniel

  • Staying strong

    Staying strong

    “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” I actually have UC [ulcerative colitis], but this quote on my arm is a constant reminder to stay strong through all of the tough times that an autoimmune disease can cause. I would be more than happy to show others my tattoo because, for such a short quote, it’s very powerful.

    — Anonymous

  • Finding strength

    Finding strength

    I was diagnosed with UC 21 years ago. I have had a lot of ups and downs — more downs as I continue to fight this disease. I have several tattoos to support my UC. The first one is my favorite. I truly believe you have to have “faith, strength, and courage” to fight IBD. The second one is because it truly does take guts to live a life with IBD. The third one is: “Hope for a cure.” I have another three dedicated to my UC. But these, I suppose, are my favorite. I could not choose just one. I’ve lost a lot because of my UC, but I also found my strength!

    — Tami

  • Fighting for Crohn’s awareness

    Fighting for Crohn’s awareness

    I really wanted to get a tattoo symbolizing my fight with Crohn’s disease. I did lots of research and Google searching for Crohn’s tats and didn’t find any I loved so decided to come up with something on my own — I absolutely love it! I had seen the purple ribbon and loved it, so I decided to incorporate the “I will fight” and the dandelion flying off. I will fight forever and pray there will be a cure one day!

    — Stephanie

  • Endurance and perseverance

    Endurance and perseverance

    For me, Crohn’s is about having strength and never giving up the fight. This tattoo, to me, symbolizes endurance and perseverance. It also suggests that the things we go through that bring us strength should not shame us.

    — Samantha Simmons

  • A lion’s strength

    A lion’s strength

    I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2013 at the age of 25. I started having symptoms at 20. I had this lion recently done as I absolutely adore lions. My favorite film is “The Lion King,” and I felt it would be perfect as I feel I am courageous, brave, and motivated like a lion. I have good days and bad days, but I am strong and I’ll keep fighting.

    — Kira

  • Strength through family

    Strength through family

    My tattoos represent love, family, strength, and courage with the Crohn’s awareness ribbon. These four things symbolize my journey. My brother, sister, and father have matching love, family, strength, and Crohn’s awareness ribbon tattoos. I added the courage symbol and ribbon after the first part of my colectomy surgery.

    I am 23 years old and have been battling this disease since I was 16. This tattoo helps me appreciate the struggles in life that make me better and those that help me fight through it.

    — Deanna Fierro

  • Crohn’s happens

    Crohn’s happens

    I got my tattoo after my temporary ileostomy turned into my permanent colostomy. I spent 22 days in the hospital due to complications from surgery and a MRSA infection. I had lots of visitors, and they all asked me how I dealt with it and stayed so positive. My response was: Shit happens, so I deal with it.

    — Rob McGoff

  • Stronger and more appreciative

    Stronger and more appreciative

    I was diagnosed in January 2012, and I feel like I’ve been in a flare-up since. I finally decided on getting a tattoo with the Crohn’s ribbon and a heart.

    My colitis plays a huge part in my life. It has made me a stronger person and made me appreciate life more.

    — Anonymous

  • Fighting back with humor

    Fighting back with humor

    I’m 27 years old, and I’ve been battling Crohn’s since I was 11. In 2011, I had surgery and now have an ileostomy.

    I really wanted a tattoo of a purple ribbon with the word “survivor” to represent my fight with Crohn’s, but that wasn’t enough for me. I’ve always been known as a joker, so the black outline behind the ribbon is my ostomy bag. My tattoo suits me perfectly!

    — Arika Dvorak

  • Raising awareness

    Raising awareness

    I got this tattoo for my 18th birthday. I was diagnosed at 15, after years of being told it was in my head.

    This tattoo shows that we need a cure, and I want to help spread awareness by showing it off!

    — Anonymous

  • Empowered by music

    Empowered by music

    I’ve suffered from IBDs for 11 years — first severe ulcerative colitis and now Crohn’s — even after having a total colectomy. It was very hard to come to terms with my chronic illness at such a young age, and music has helped me through the hard times.

    I chose to pair the Crohn’s awareness ribbon with lyrics by my favorite band, My Chemical Romance. It symbolizes that the worst is over and I know I’m strong enough to overcome anything life throws at me.

    — Grace Heckel

  • A personal touch

    A personal touch

    I got this tattoo of a phoenix rising out of a lotus flower after having a resection surgery and an ostomy put in within a month of each other. It’s inspired by living through horrible conditions and coming back stronger than ever.

    My husband would draw at night; working on a design that showed I wasn’t letting Crohn’s beat me — or him, for that matter. When he finalized the design, we were both in love with it and I got it inked the next day.

    — Anonymous

  • Shot through the heart

    Shot through the heart

    I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in August of 2001. I got my tattoo on my left outer thigh in October of 2012 at Electric City Tattoo in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The heart within the Crohn’s awareness ribbon is my medication shot target, and I designed it myself.

    — Anonymous

  • Fighting invisible illness with faith and strength

    Fighting invisible illness with faith and strength

    I’m 38 years old and have been battling Crohn’s disease for about 16 years. I also suffer from many other ailments, including fibromyalgia, arthritis, osteoporosis, and several autoimmune diseases.

    The purple ribbon is not only for Crohn’s but also for fibro, as they both affect my daily life. The spoon represents “The Spoon Theory” by Christine Miserandino, which explains living with chronic illness.

    — Melanie Kaba-Holloway

  • Imagine better things

    Imagine better things

    My tattoo is inspired by my battle with Crohn’s over the last five and a half years, and also my dad’s battles with ulcerative colitis and prostate cancer. The words “Imagine better things” are in my dad’s handwriting and remind me that there is more to life than Crohn’s and that I will overcome.

    — Jamie