It’s October and it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, I’m sure you’ve all seen the pink ribbons everywhere along with a ton of info floating around social media about breast cancer statistics.
However, that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to share my experience over the past few months that will end with why I’m fundraising through Barbells for Boobs.
Back in December of 2016 I got certified in Cosmetic Tattooing through Cheryl Rosenblum of Permanent Makeup of Atlanta. When I initially inquired about training I was more focused on brow tattooing since a lot of my clients had requested it. When I got there, I was signed up to learn how to do brows, eyeliner, and lip blush. If you’ve read any of my prior blog posts about my training then you’ll remember that I did NOT do well with the eyeliner portion of it. Long story short, anything to do with eyes (ie contacts, visine, rinsing my eyes, etc) makes me really nauseous. And that was the same thing for eyeliner tattooing, I just can’t do it! So Cheryl, being the awesome human she is, offered to swap out eyeliner for areola tattooing since that was another specialty. And I found it to be very similar to traditional tattooing but with other things to keep in mind when working with doctors and compromised skin due to radiation and things like that.
I had worked with previous clients doing areola reshaping and scar cover up but never really honed in on just working specifically with post mastectomy patients. Last year, I was introduced to this organization Barbells for Boobs through my good friend Sabrina Nedab at Crossfit Steadfast. She invited me to take part in a project where we interviewed two survivors about their experiences and I created artwork based on their stories. Boy, let me tell you, hearing these two women talk about their cancer journey was absolutely heartbreaking. I immediately felt the call to do more and to try to turn my 12 years of tattooing into something that could be given back to women like them.
Fast forward to summer of this year where I met an incredible woman named Kim who introduced me to her doctor, Dr. Campbell at Georgia Institute for Plastic Surgery. After meeting him and hearing how many women he works on every week I knew it was time to really get the word out about doing these types of tattoos. I reached out to my personal plastic surgeon, Dr. Barbara Davies of Savannah Plastic Surgery and she said there was such a need for someone like me in the area and that they had someone from Baltimore come down every few months and that the closest person to outsource to was in JACKSONVILLE! What?! That blew me away.
And here we are currently, I’ve had the opportunity to work with dozens of women to help them find their new normal. And everyone woman I’ve had the privilege of working with has had a different story. No two breasts are the same, some have severe scarring, some have radiation burns, some haven’t let their husbands see their breasts since diagnosis. Breast cancer takes so much away from these women that I want to do everything I can to offer my services to these women that I hope in the next few years it’s something I can do full time. I feel such a calling and passion to do this that I’m just so incredibly humbled that these survivors and their doctors trust me to close this chapter with them.
I do my best to make as much of a comfortable experience from beginning to end. From a private studio, to the best numbing cream I have to offer, to music choice, color choice, application and aftercare, everything is specifically tailored to the individual. I keep the costs low since I don’t bill through insurance to ensure that every woman has the opportunity to move on with their lives on a high note and not further in debt.
Which leads me to the end of this blog post with a little bit about Barbells for Boobs. This year I’m raffling off a $300 tattoo gift certificate with me that if you win you can choose to use or you can donate it to a survivor to receive a complimentary nipple/areola session. Any increments of $10 will get you a ticket and the more your donate the more chances you have to win. The winner will be chosen this Friday at Crossfit Steadfast’s Friday Night Lights event and you do not have to be present to win. The link to donate is in my News and Events page, and if you want to do a cash donation just let me know so I can add you to the raffle.
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer and I want to dedicate my craft, energy, and time to ensure that resources will be available to those women and hopefully one day with enough money and research we can eradicate it forever. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and I’ll announce the winner on Friday!
And if you, or anyone you know, might be in need of these types of tattoos, please shoot me an e-mail or call the shop to set up a consultation. I have a private portfolio of before and after work that I would be happy to go over with you.