Photo of tattooed breast cancer survivor goes viral

By: Jennifer Pretty Apr 23, 2013
Tattoo breast cancer survivor

This week I've been inspired by a picture going round the internet of Kelly Davidson, a 34-year-old woman from Ontario. Why has she inspired me? Well, for a start she's beaten cancer not once but three times. She had Hodgkin's disease at 11, breast cancer at 28 and thyroid cancer at 31. This woman is a survivor, and she's proof that a cancer diagnosis is no reason to lay down and die. She's faced it, accepted it and fought it - three times.

But there's more. There's a reason why this amazingly resilient woman has suddenly become famous. It's to do with what she's done with her mastectomy site. She had both breasts removed in the course of fighting breast cancer and was offered the chance to have re-constructive surgery. Plastic surgery is one option available to mastectomy patients, and some choose to take it while others just use padding and well-engineered bras.

Kelly, however, has done something different. Where her breasts used to be she now has a giant tattoo. The fairies and butterflies are feminine but powerful at the same time. She describes it as her "badge of honour and strength" and says it acts as a constant reminder of how she "kicked cancer's ass". As I said, this woman is a survivor. What's more, she's posed topless and posted pictures of herself on the internet, which have now gone viral. Not only is she gutsy enough to live without breasts, she's gutsy enough to show the whole world. As she says "breasts don't define who I am as a person or a woman,"

And she's right! She is a beautiful, spirited woman who is still ultra-feminine and when she marries fiancé Doug Strudwick later this year, I have no doubt she will make a gorgeous bride. Fittingly, they got engaged at Relay for Life 2012, which raises funds for cancer research and awareness. It's not the first event that Kelly has been involved in - at the age of 11, she took part in a 12km bike ride to raise money for cancer.

This is not a woman who lets cancer hold her back - she has traveled extensively, posed for a book called "Breast Stories" and for years she worked in a mastectomy boutique where she helped women who were just recovering from surgery to adjust to their new bodies. She supports other cancer survivors and patients and her story has inspired many people, many times over. Even at the age of 11, she was inspirational. In an interview at the time, she said "Don’t think of this as a bad thing or giving up, just keep going on with your life". She says those words - from her own younger self - have kept her going through some really tough times.

She’s beautiful, strong and generous with her time and energy. Are you still wondering why I feel inspired by her? One in nine Canadian women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime - if it ever happens to me, I can only hope that I have half the strength that Kelly Davidson has.


Until next time,

Peace, love and vitamin C!

Jennifer Pretty began her career as the director of artist development for a well-known Canadian music label. Branching out on her own, she then started her own PR business “Pretty Media Management” planning and hosting various charity, entertainment and fashion events. As a dance and fitness class enthusiast Jennifer is a firm believer in the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. She also loves to cook, travel, spend time with family and friends and most importantly living life to the fullest!