Valley woman's touching tattoo tribute airs on LA Ink

FRESNO, Calif.

Valerie Derouin's home is abuzz with pre-party activity. On this night family and friends will honor /*Kendra Tunnell*/. A tattoo on Valerie's right arm honors her late daughter.

"When I see it in the morning when I'm getting ready to work it's just awesome to see it," said Derouin. "It was amazing because it's her. It's not an almost her. It's her."

Kendra wanted to be a pilot. In June of 2001 she died at the age of 16 when her Cessna plane crashed near Tulare. Ever since, Valerie's been looking for a way to keep her daughter in everyone's memory. She applied to be on "LA Ink" on the /*TLC*/ network this year and was selected out of more than 85-thousand applicants.

"I don't feel I got picked. I'm just the arm," said Derouin. "I feel Kendra got picked."

Renowned artist /*Kat Von D*/ tattooed the special portrait. It reads "Pursue your Dreams." The family wore shirts bearing the same message at Kendra's memorial. Several family members now also sport pink elephant tattoos.

Derouin said, "This is something Kendra sketched on her books and her backpack, just her little logo."

Caitlin Greer said, "Now everybody gets to get together, especially tonight and we all get to celebrate for once and we really haven't done that like we should have."

"/*LA Ink*/" featuring /*Valerie Derouin*/ airs Thursday night on TLC at 10:00.

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