1-thys“Since he can remember, Thys has been in love with art. Spending his time with realism and fantasy drawings – he needed an outlet, and found it through tattooing. Thys has been a tattoo artist for roughly 4 years now, and has in this time found his niche. He finds inspiration by marrying the true essence of realism with a vivid imagination and abstractionism. He has an undoubtable talent in fine arts and a skilled eye for depth and detail. This allows Thys to add his signature to whatever ideas he may be presented with.

During his time as a tattoo artist, Thys has built up an esteemed reputation that now precedes him – and tattoos many of SA’s celebrities, including John Vlismas (Comedian), DJ Fresh and DJ Catherine (5FM), Pippa Tshabalala (The Verge) and The Parlotones! He was also invited to do a guest artist spot at the infamous Westside Tattoos in Colorado USA in 2011 and will return to the States this year to tattoo in Las Vegas! Thys travels across South Africa, tattooing his ever growing clientele in Cape Town and KZN.” – www.fallenheroes.co.za

What you might not know is that Thys also has a very deep personal understanding of the challenges facing kids battling cancer.

Why do you and Jen (your wife) feel such a personal passion for supporting and driving the Tattoo-a-thon?

As a child of 8 I had heart cancer, so I saw kids suffer, and I didn’t. I always thought I was just lucky and I always thought, if I could, I would give back to kids. Unfortunately my school marks weren’t exactly up to scratch so that I could become a doctor, but I have found that you don’t have to be a doctor to make people’s lives easier.

How and when were you diagnosed with cancer?

I was diagnosed in April 2012. I got was very sick with flu, so my then fiancé, now wife, Jen, took me to Olivedale clinic to check out my lungs, it turned out I had pneumonia, it was in the tests that they ran that day that they noticed a high white blood cell count.

What are some of the feelings/moments that were most challenging to face?

I think the thought that went through my mind the most was that you are on borrowed time. So whatever you wanted to do and whatever you needed to do, you kind of had to get it done. The thought of  “let’s cure this” was never on my mind, it was all about, let’s do as much as we can as soon as we can. I think you become alive, in a strange way.

Thys will be attending a convention in Canada on the Tattoo-a-thon date this year, but you can still make a booking with his studio, Fallen Heroes, here!