Aaron Guillemette has owned the Up in Flames Tattoo Shop in Twin Falls, Massachusetts for 16 years. Recently though, a young lady helped give him a brand new appreciation for his art and talent when he was asked by 8-year-old Hope Laliberte to “tattoo” her leg braces!
Hope was born prematurely and has dealt with the medical challenges of cerebral palsy, blindness and a rare form of epilepsy since her birth at 24 weeks.
While her twin sister, Paige, has experienced very few health issues, Hope has had to eat a specialized diet to control her epilepsy and wear leg braces. So, when her daughter wanted special designs on her new set of braces, her parents set out to make that wish a reality.
Clinics do offer braces with designs on them. However, Hope was looking for something different. She wanted Disney villains—rather than princesses— on her braces.
Guillemette and his team tried various ways to get the artwork – which features the Little Mermaid’s Ursula and 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella de Vil – to adhere to the braces without coming off. Eventually, Guillemette’s designs were turned into labels, which were adhered to the plastic brace material and covered with polyurethane to keep them from scraping off.
Hope is absolutely thrilled with the result. Typically somewhat of a shy girl, she ran to Aaron and gave him a hug when she saw the braces. She loves wearing her braces now too!
Guillemette’s daughter is a classmate of Hope’s, so for him, designing the braces for a young lady with such strength and determination was something he was overjoyed to do.
Hope’s story has even garnered the attention of celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Lil’ Wayne who have shared her story on social media, calling the braces “dope” and saying, “every kid deserves to feel awesome.”