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‘Art therapy’ transforms mastectomy scars into battle wounds of beauty

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NEW ORLEANS – It’s a powerful form of “art therapy” – turning mastectomy scars into battle wounds of beauty.

“I learned about this organization in 2013 as I was getting ready for surgery, and I thought it was just a fantastic idea,” breast cancer survivor Nancy Crowe tells WGNO.

Personal Ink is a charity whose mission is to pair breast cancer survivors with the country’s most talented tattoo artists for free.

Brandon LeBoeuf currently works at Downtown Tattoo and is a master at his craft. He’s been tattooing ink enthusiasts for 15 years but said Pink Tattoo Day is unique.

“It’s not like tattooing everybody else. It’s different for these ladies. It’s way more special than just a tattoo,” LeBoeuf said.

Pink Tattoo Day is a 12-hour ink-a-thon that takes place at participating tattoo parlors across the country. Electric Ladyland and Downtown Tattoo, two parlors on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans are participating. And, although both parlors are walking distance from one another, artists said it’s no longer a competition, it’s about consolidating talent for a cause.

“I thought maybe we could do black and grey mostly, a little blue in the water,” said a tattoo artist at Electric Ladyland to one survivor.

The end result is a thing of beauty – a visual representation of survival and starting anew.

“An exciting time to come and do this, beat the odds and win and have something that I’m proud of,” Crowe said.

Editor’s note: This video contains sensitive content.

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