When mum-of-four Stephanie Kelly learned she had tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation – greatly increasing her likelihood of developing breast cancer – she didn't hesitate in undergoing a preventative double mastectomy.
But instead of opting to have reconstructive surgery, the 42-year-old decided to celebrate her strength by having the Wonder Woman logo tattooed across her scars.
“With my family history full of cancer, I had always thought breast cancer was a question of ‘when’ and not ‘if’,” she told the Daily Mail.
“The genetic counsellor said I had a very high risk. I didn’t want to live in fear.”
While Stephanie admits that having her breasts removed initially knocked her confidence, she’s since embraced her new body.
“I did like my breasts. They were a big part of what made me feel confident and more than that, I loved that they had fed all my kids for many years collectively,” she said.
“I have my moments; when I miss the soft curves of my breasts, when I miss being able to wear a bathing suit and have it fit well.”
“But honest, with my new Wonder Woman Phoenix tattoo across my mastectomy scar, I feel very confident.”
“I have never been one to be just like everybody else,” she continued. “I feel like this gives me even more freedom to not care. I am never going to look like the majority of women in this world, so I get to re-invent myself into whatever I want and make this new body my own.”
By showing off her new ink on social media she’s not only raising awareness of the BRCA gene, she's also inspiring others to take action and get tested.
“It has connected me with a new community of women. When I began posting, I couldn’t find many images of women like me, so now I’ve made a point to share everything,” she explained.
“Even if the pictures are hard to share, it is something I like to talk about a lot. I try to raise awareness of the BRCA mutations and how easy it is to be tested for it.”