BREAKING NEWS COVID-19 cluster found at local Five Guys Full Story

3D tattoos help KC breast cancer survivors

Tim Cox, a medical tattooist, is on a mission to help as many breast cancer survivors as he can with 3D areola tattoo...

Posted: Apr 5, 2018 7:35 PM
Updated: Apr 5, 2018 7:35 PM

Tim Cox, a medical tattooist, is on a mission to help as many breast cancer survivors as he can with 3D areola tattoos. Cox's tattoos are designed to look very real, like what was lost.

Theresa Stogsdill and Heather Boyle-Townsend found comfort in tattoos they never thought they would need.

"Needed? I didn't know it even existed!" said Boyle-Townsend.

Taking something back

These two breast cancer survivors, like so many others, endured mastectomies and breast reconstruction. Their surgeries meant removal of the areolas, leaving bare skin behind.

"I couldn't look in the mirror. I didn't want to share it with anybody," said Boyle-Townsend. "I had a husband who was coming home from Afghanistan who hadn't seen me. It was devastating."

With Cox's help, they're taking something back.

"A lot of people say, 'Well it's just two little circles, how much of a difference can that make?' It makes all the difference in the world," he said.

"I feel like I'm back in charge of my life," said Stogsdill.

"This was bringing back the wholeness of feeling like a woman again," said Boyle-Townsend.

Work of art

"It's just like painting," Cox said. "It's all about measuring and deciding where your light source is."

When he put down his paint brush and picked up a tattoo needle years ago, the artist found a new purpose.

The moment survivors see his finished masterpiece is one of pure joy. "It was a complete surprise," said Boyle-Townsend. "It was like Christmas morning."

They share it with loved ones and with a new friend, the man behind the needle who understands their journey more than most.

"He just puts you at ease," said Stogsdill. "He shared his story that he went through with his family and his ex-wife."

Labor of love

Cox said he was already tattooing when the mother of his two girls, Dara, got her breast cancer diagnosis.

"She was a wonderful mother and she's a terrific person," he said.

In his own search for answers, Cox discovered the need for areola tattoos and said he sought medical tattoo training. He hoped to someday help Dara.

"We were talking about this when it had just come around to where she would have been ready was when the cancer came back."

Dara passed away in March 2014.

"It was a horrible experience," Cox said. "But I wouldn't have traded that for never meeting her. That's why I do this."

He does this for Dara, their daughters, and so many more.

Paying for the procedure

Most of Cox's clients get the procedure through insurance, but now he is trying to raise money for the uninsured and underinsured, so more women can feel that peace Stogsdill and Boyle-Townsend do.

So far, his INDIEGOGO campaign has raised more than $1400. Cox said with equipment and anesthetics, tattooing each side usually costs between $300 and $400.

"Now when I look at me, I don't see scars," Stogsdill said.

"You're so proud it's like you really do wanna show!" Boyle-Townsend laughed. "So I've been known to yep – sorry friends and family – but I've been known to at dinner parties!"

From ink, a needle, and an artist's hand, these women say they found a way to feel complete again.

West Lafayette
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 87°
Kokomo
Few Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 87°
Rensselaer
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 90°
Fowler
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 90°
Williamsport
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 98°
Crawfordsville
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 88°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 78°
Delphi
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 93°
Monticello
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Logansport
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 91°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48201

Reported Deaths: 2693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11624683
Lake5146242
Elkhart328546
Allen2762129
St. Joseph194366
Cass16389
Hamilton1552101
Hendricks1403100
Johnson1278118
Porter72837
Tippecanoe7158
Madison65864
Clark65144
Bartholomew58544
Howard57557
LaPorte57326
Kosciusko5464
Vanderburgh5226
Marshall4924
Noble47828
Jackson4703
LaGrange4708
Hancock44835
Boone44243
Delaware44250
Shelby42525
Floyd37944
Morgan32931
Grant29426
Monroe29428
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Dubois2736
Henry26315
White26310
Decatur25032
Lawrence24425
Dearborn23623
Vigo2348
Warrick21429
Harrison21322
Unassigned193193
Greene18832
Miami1822
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1607
Daviess14317
Wayne1386
Orange13623
Steuben1292
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1167
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Huntington812
Gibson802
Randolph794
Jefferson722
Wells721
Fulton701
Jay680
Washington671
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown391
Posey390
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Tipton321
Fountain312
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events