A Permanent Mark: Cancer survivor receives tattoo - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

A Permanent Mark: Cancer survivor receives tattoo

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There’s a good chance you’ve been touched by the disease. 55-year-old Tracie Roos from Sandpoint, Idaho knows what it’s like. She survived breast cancer 17 years ago after undergoing a double mastectomy and a year of chemotherapy.

Not being able to raise her kids was Tracie’s biggest fear when she was diagnosed. She says it should be every mother’s right to watch her children grow up. The idea of not being there was even more painful knowing that four of her good friends didn’t survive the disease.

Now, 17 years after being diagnosed, Tracie is helping raise her grandson. She says it is an honor to be able to watch her first grandbaby while her son and her daughter-in-law are at work. However, Tracie admits there is a constant reminder of what she endured all those years ago. It is the fact that her eyebrows never grew back after chemotherapy. She’s drawn them on with makeup ever since that time.

However, thanks to permanent cosmetic artist Hayley Shortridge-Gabriel at True Life Canvas, Tracie is getting her eyebrows back. Hayley tattoos eyebrows on women who have endured chemotherapy and even women who just want a more defined, fuller look. Hayley was originally a painter but decided to go into permanent cosmetics when she realized she could help people. She says she first became interested when she heard about tattooing areolas onto women with reconstructive surgery after mastectomies. Hayley admits that being able to provide that service for women is rewarding.

For Hayley, cancer is personal. Her mom died of lung cancer in August after a 2 and half year bout with the disease. The pain is still raw but her mother’s memory lives on every time she is able to help someone like Tracie. And in return, Tracie is thankful she’s still here to help comfort another woman’s child through the pain. Both women have left a permanent mark on one another’s hearts.

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