'It's part of us': Alberta women tattoo lifelike nipples on breast cancer patients
CALGARY -- Two Alberta women are helping people with breast cancer regain confidence by providing complimentary realistic tattoos to restore nipples that have been removed during surgery.
It's part of an initiative with the hashtag "Procedures for a Positive Purpose."
One of its co-founders is now clear of breast cancer herself.
"This is what I have to do. This is my purpose," said Carmelina Baccari, an internationally certified areola restorative specialist.
"Even though you can't see it as a woman it's there, it's part of us."
She knew she wanted to begin providing the 3D tattoo procedure before she was diagnosed, but it was during treatment that she began to realize the value of the body part.
"I was so afraid of losing my nipple. I understand the fear that's around it: It's part of us, it's part of our womanhood, motherhood."
Lisa Duke received tattoo areolas after a double mastectomy and a skin graft, to treat stage four metastatic breast cancer, removed her nipples entirely.
"When I walk by the mirror nowadays, it's a double glance because its for a good reason. It's not because something is missing; something (is) there. The pretty is back," said Duke.
A GoFundMe campaign has been started for Duke, who also continues to keep positive for her children she raises as a single mom.
Kacie Rainey donated her paramedical micropigmentation skills to Duke, and noticed a change in Duke's outlook.
"Thats when we know we've done our job, our work is complete, when we make a woman feel beautiful again and whole."