GIVING BACK: Katie Fox at Gold Empire Tattoo is offering free nipple tattoos to breast cancer survivors.
GIVING BACK: Katie Fox at Gold Empire Tattoo is offering free nipple tattoos to breast cancer survivors. Tearah Fox

Free nipple tatts a godsend for breast cancer survivors

BREASTS and nipples are such a big part of a woman's identity.

But for breast cancer survivors who have had mastectomies, they often lose the latter for good when going under the knife.

One Mackay tattooist hopes to change all that, by offering realistic nipple tattoos for breast cancer survivors free of charge.

Katie Fox of Gold Empire Tattoo has performed "cover-up" mastectomy tattoos on clients over her 10 years in the job, but she thought she would go one better.

"I don't really give to charity because I'm always a bit wary of where my money goes; but this was something I could offer to directly help women who have gone through breast cancer," Ms Fox said.

"It's a service that's really hard for them to come across ... obviously being through treatment they've had so many costs to outlay in getting through that, I couldn't bring myself to charge them for this as well."

After posting the offer on Facebook a week ago, she's received dozens of comments and more than 800 shares from women across the country.

Annette was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2015, undergoing a double mastectomy as part of her treatment.

At the same time, she had implants put in which were injected with saline and expanded to make way for permanent implants which she now has.

But there was still one thing missing.

"I'm part of a cancer support group on Facebook and another member shared Katie's ad," Annette, 43, explained.

"What we've been through... it's so important to have nipples, because it makes us feel a bit more normal again."


Annette will travel from Gladstone to Mackay to get her tattoos done.

"I've looked into cosmetic nipple tattoos before, but prices range from $500 to $1000 so it's a lot to be out of pocket," she said.

"The whole process from start to finish is not a cheap thing either; it's quite expensive cancer.

"So to have someone who is willing to do this for free and give something back to women so it makes us feel normal again is really great."

Annette had her last cancer operation in February, so will have a consultation with Ms Fox in the next week or two to see how her scars are healing.

"What I'll do in the consult is I will size up their boobs and I will draw up a nipple that I've custom drawn to be in proportion for their shape and size," Ms Fox explained. "Every one will be different because every woman is different.

"It will come down to their personal preference too; I can do up some rough ones and put them against their chest and they can look in the mirror and see what size they prefer."

The 29-year-old tattoo artist has tattooed over mastectomy scars in the past, including the former partner of the infamous 'Postcard Bandit', convicted Australian bank robber Brenden Abbott.

"She had his portrait tattooed on her," Ms Fox said. "She was a strong woman, she'd been through a lot of life experience and then went through having a double mastectomy as well so she was pretty amazing."

For her, seeing the reaction of "breast cancer warriors" seeing their new nipples will be reward for her gesture.

"I will personally get to see their joy; get to talk to this person, hear a bit of their story and it'll make me happy that I'm making them happy," Ms Fox said.

Graeme Bonney posted on Facebook: "After having my mother die from breast cancer, I take my hat off to you for doing what seems to be a simple gesture. But in all honesty will mean the world to the ladies you do this for. Should be more people in the world like you."

For breast cancer survivors interested in getting the free nipple tattoos, contact Katie at Gold Empire Tattoo on 48481905 or 0400232228.

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