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Tattoo parlor to host anti-bullying event

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- In some ways, Laura Smalley will always be a mother in pain.

She lost her son to suicide when he was just 11.

"I hate to see anybody, especially a baby, feel that hopeless," Smalley said.

Since then, Smalley and her husband have devoted their lives to preventing bullying and protecting kids.

"Middle school, it's their whole life," she said. "In high school, you've got a job and a car and a girlfriend. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In middle school, it's school."

Two years in, Laura's work through the charity "Stand for the Silent" has brought her in contact with some interesting people.

One of them is Brent Barry, a local tattoo artist with a big heart.

"I can't imagine what the families go through," Barry said. "To lose a child at such a young age is just devastating."

On Oct. 6, Barry and his coworkers will transform VooDoo Tattoo on the city's south side into a Mecca for those who want to stop bullying.

They are hosting a "Tattoo-a-Thon," 36 hours of tattooing, and will give 25 percent of the proceeds to "Stand for the Silent."

"Just the simple fact of an 11-year-old taking his life because he was bullied, well, an 11-year-old shouldn't even know what suicide is," Barry said.

For Laura, it's another way to spread the word about a charity she created to honor her son and impact others.