Tattoo artist helps breast cancer survivor find closure

Updated: 07/16/2014 7:19 AM | Created: 07/15/2014 10:44 PM
By: Kim Tobin, KOB Eyewitness News 4

For some breast cancer survivors, scars from their fight for survival can be a very painful reminder of a difficult time. So they choose to cover up those battle scars. 

An Albuquerque woman is using tattoos to help her move on, and a local tattoo artist decided to help her at no cost.

The lead artist at a tattoo shop outside of Moriarty cleared his schedule for the day to help one woman find closure on her long journey.

With the push of a pedal and the buzz of a needle, ink moves across Shalona Evaro's skin.

"The scars remind me every day about this horrible thing that me and my family had to go through," Evaro said.

At the age of 29, Evaro woke up one day to feel something wrong: a lump in her breast. With no family history of breast cancer, she wasn't too worried. But she found out that lump had quickly turned into stage three breast cancer.

Three years and nine surgeries, later she longs to feel whole again.

"For lack of a better word, I don't feel like a girl anymore. Because I'm fake. Both sides have been taken off and reconstructed," she said.

High Desert Ink tattoo artist Chris Boren lost his mother-in-law to cancer. He's volunteering his time and work to give Evaro this tattoo for free.

Evaro chose an intricate design, painting the story of her life. With images reminding her of her career as an EMT. A job she loved for years. It also honors her firefighter husband who has stood by her side and supported her through her cancer battle.

"It symbolizes what's important to me. And being here is important to me. Being alive," she said.

The final product is a large piece of art that allows Evaro to see something different when she steps in front of the mirror.

"And that's what I want to be able to say, that this is beautiful for me again. I feel like a person, a whole person. Not just someone who's been cut up multiple times," she said. 

Chris Boren at High Desert Ink says he will give this kind of free tattoo work to any woman who wants to cover her breast cancer scars. 

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