In the English language, a semicolon is the punctuation mark that separates major sentence elements. But to many, the symbol represents the struggle of depression, suicide, addiction and the will to continue on.

 
Marc Lavey, a tattoo artist at CowPok on Elmwood, says his connection to the semicolon comes through his cousin Scott, who took his own life two years ago.

"He was the life of all the parties, the guy who called everyone," said Lavey. "The signs arent always as evident as everyone things theyd be. Not always the loner or quiet person."
Hoping to open the conversation, Lavey and CowPok opened their doors for a second year in a row to raise money for Crisis Services.  

Artists from several different studios volunteered their time to ink up dozens who lined up at both of their locations for the tiny, yet powerful tattoo.

"[Its] really bringing people together that are coming to share their story and representing others maybe they lost to suicide," said Lavey.

Project Semicolon is the impetus for this movement. The 3-year-old non-profit focuses on hope and love for those dealing with the issues many people shy away from talking about.

Bridget McDonough says this was her second time getting a tattoo from Lavey, but says it has an additional meaning, as she wraps up her masters degree in school counseling.
"Its in elementary schools, middle schools, adults, its everywhere. To spread that awareness and to be a part of something like this is very important to me."

Like a tattoo slowly drains a cup of ink, Lavey says the event can also be emotionally draining on the artists, but also expressed how heartwarming it is to see so many rally behind the cause.

"Ive done at least a dozen first tattoos today of people that were so moved by what were doing that they felt the need," said Lavey. "That was their words, that they needed to participate."

"I saw on Facebook earlier the line was out the door, and when I came in, just seeing people come in and leaving so happy to represent this awarenesss," said McDonough. "Its so nice to see."

CowPok raised $5,700 last year for Crisis Services, and hope to double their efforts in year two.