By Kendall McGee | October 18, 2020 at 6:44 PM EDT – Updated October 19 at 7:00 AM
HAMPSTEAD, N.C. (WECT) – Jenean LaCorte describes herself as a lifelong artist. She was professionally trained at Columbus College of Art and Design.
Painting was an early passion for her, but after her sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer, she swapped her paintbrush for a tattoo machine and went to school for medical tattoo.
“From my very first tattoo, I knew this is what I should be doing with my life,” said LeCorte.”I absolutely love it.”
She specializes 3-D nipple tattoos for people after breast cancer and scar camouflage. She’s helped patients hide marks left behind by self harm, birth defects and accidents.
“I understand how much weight a scar can hold. Sometimes you don’t realize what its doing to you emotionally until you can have a resolution that helps hide it,” said LaCorte.
The healing is more than skin deep. Her patients say the tattoos have given them confidence to move on from their diagnosis, date again after a mastectomy and apply for their dream jobs.
“As much as I love to do this for people, I would love to never have to do this ever again if it meant nobody else had cancer,” she said.
Behind the pink ribbons that surface every October is a poignant reminder to talk about prevention and the importance of early detection.
“You cant tie a pretty pink ribbon around what cancer is, but it is a chance to openly talk about something that effects every single person –literally everyone knows one person at least that’s been through breast cancer.”
Whether it’s a cancer survivor, or someone working to get rid of scars from accidents, surgeries or self harm the artist says she keeps in touch with each of her patients.
“Its like they’re part of my family part of my friends now – I took them through that journey. I took them past the hard and into whats the next phase in their life – its powerful to be a part of that. “
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