Tattoo Artist Helps Cover Up Mastectomy Scars for Local Woman

Breast cancer survivor Juanita Williams consults with tattoo artist Shane Wallin about covering up the scars from her double mastectomy.

"I want to cover these scars and see beauty. I would like angel wings. And I would like it to be real colorful. Very bright pink," Juanita tells Shane.

"I was thinking of doing some wings that roll over your shoulder. Something faceted. A jewel effect. Something pretty and antique," says Shane.

With a design in mind, Shane gets started on the pattern at his new shop in Pacific Beach, Garnet Tattoo. It will take a few hours to create his design.

Juanita is Shane's first client in San Diego, but he's been a tattoo artist for more than 20 years.

"With mastectomy work, it's a restorative quality. It's something that's been taken away that you're giving back. You're giving someone self-esteem. You're giving them confidence. You're making them feel sexy again," says Shane.

Shane created his first tattoo for a breast cancer survivor a couple of years ago, by chance, when a woman walked into his tattoo shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He did a tattoo resembling a lace bra on her.

"If I can use my abilities and my job to make people feel better, then I'm all for it," says Shane.

In October, he worked with P.INK (Personal Ink) which connects survivors with tattoo artists.

Juanita found out about the organization through social media.

"I saw all the breast tattoos. And I cried because I knew there was hope for me."

Juanita contacted P.INK (Personal Ink) and the organization put her in touch with Shane.

"I've been feeling depressed about my scars, because I don't feel that I'm sexy."

The tattoo will take about ten hours and a few sessions to complete.

Shane is trying to raise awareness about P.INK (Personal Ink), and let the medical community know more about tattoos as an alternative way to heal.

Juanita says she hopes the tattoo will help her feel better about her scars, and help her remember she is a cancer survivor.

"I want angel wings for all the women who passed away from breast cancer," says Juanita.

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