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Recipient Spotlight:


After initially wanting nipple tattoos, Donna was inspired to get a full chest of art.

Donna was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in 2017 and underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. She was left with scars and a body that felt strange to her. Initially, Donna was looking for nipple tattoos. But when she found, she was inspired to volunteer at a Day and learn more. After that experience, Donna decided to get art tattooed on her chest instead of nipples. Donna was a 2019 Day recipient in Minneapolis, MN where she was matched with artist Heather Kim.

We interviewed Donna to learn about her Day experience and what advice she has for anyone thinking about mastectomy tattoos or applying to the Personal Ink program. 

How did you feel after your mastectomy?

Surgery had left me with scars and a body that was no longer “me.” I had lost what I used to see in the mirror every day. I needed to find a new “me.”

Is there a special meaning behind your tattoo design?

Hollyhocks remind me of my dad when I was young. He used to show me how to make dolls from the flowers and buds. My mom loved the color red.

What was your Day experience like?

I couldn’t wait for the tattooing to begin! I was excited to regain something I chose instead of it being chosen for me. I no longer look in the mirror and relive what happened to me through chemo and after surgery. I feel “normal” again.

“Cancer took control and forced changes that I did not want. But, I was able to take control back. I kicked cancer’s ass and ended up even more beautiful for it!”

– Donna

How did you feel when your tattoo was revealed?

I was in awe at how gorgeous the art was. I was relieved to have gotten rid of the scars and replaced the old me.

What piece of advice would you share with potential future recipients? 

Change is hard, especially change that you do not have control over. Cancer forced changes that I did not want and took control. But, I was able to take control back. I kicked cancer’s ass and ended up even more beautiful for it!

Hear more from Donna about her experience.

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