Breast cancer survivors from across the country traveled to Williamsburg on Monday to have their breasts tattooed and cover the scars left by painful cancer surgeries.
The 10 participating women, all of whom have undergone mastectomies and only some of whom had follow-up breast reconstruction surgery, were flown out by the founders of P-ink, an organization that helps former patients of the dread disease get ink. The ladies who went under the gun said that being permanently adorned with artwork of their choosing has given them a new lease on life and their bodies.
“The tattoo gives us power, and gives us something beautiful that’s ours,” said Charisse Reeder, who came from her home in California to have a dolphin splashed across her chest.
An organizer says that tattooing is part of the process of getting back to normal while also memorializing the days, months, and years lost to doctor’s appointments, chemotherapy, and recovering from breast removal surgery.
“The ultimate goal is to give the survivor access to someone who can do the work” and to get help “defining what breast cancer looks like” on their terms, said Noel Franus, the founder of P-ink.
For Reeder, the result was a mission accomplished.
“I’ve gone as far as I can go with medical procedures, ” she said. “The tattoo is something I’ve picked out, so it’s personal to me.”
Fulner and his colleagues raised over $20,000 for the event through the online fund-raising web site Indiegogo and connected the 10 women with top-of-the-line body art at Williamsburg’s Saved Tattoo on Union Avenue.
“These are the best artists we could find,” Franus said.
Based on the reactions of the participants, the artwork they wore away from Saved Tattoo was priceless.
“I came home from New York, took a shower, looked in the mirror, and I was so happy,” said Mari Ruddy, a two-time breast cancer survivor from Minnesota. “Like, ‘This is beautiful.’ ”
Several participating survivors complained that the reconstructive surgery available through their insurance companies was unsatisfactory, if was available at all, and, whether they ultimately went through the procedures or not, they agreed that body art was an affirming alternative.
©2013 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.