Colorado cancer survivor tattoos her scars to heal her pain

Her story is featured in "Reconstructive Ink" doc

DENVER - October is breast cancer awareness month and all throughout the nation, people are working to raise awareness by wearing pink as a sign of support for those battling cancer and sharing their stories of survival.

A Colorado woman has gone a step further and is using ink to heal her pain and share her story of survival. 

“If I had a shirt on I was okay, but if I didn't have a shirt on, just getting out of the shower or something, I couldn't look in the mirror."

Long after Cheryl Dixon's double mastectomy, her scars remained. She was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in 2009 and said having the surgery was the right decision for her.

“I didn't want to get that phone call again. Once was enough,” she said. 

But it was not until she walked into Red Sky Tattoo in Castle Rock that the real healing began. 

“It took me a good five years before I decided to even go into a tattoo parlor,” Dixon said.

It was in that tattoo parlor that she met student cinematographer Brianna Mancini.

“I met Cheryl when I walked into my tattoo shop for the first time and she was standing there without a shirt on and I thought she was the coolest person I had ever seen,” Mancini said. “When I had to make a documentary it was pretty obvious what I should do it on.”

Now, Dixon is the star of Mancini’s student documentary "Reconstructive Ink."

“I have tattoos that cover up scars too and I think they can serve a lot of purposes. They can really help people heal,” said Mancini.

“That's what I’m hoping to do. To help [people] realize they don't have to have those things on your body to be beautiful,” said Dixon.

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