NEPA Scene Staff

VIDEO: Kingston artist Ryan Ashley Malarkey tattoos over mastectomy scar of breast cancer survivor

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Kingston tattoo artist Ryan Ashley Malarkey has been quite busy lately as a strong contestant and fan favorite on Season 8 of “Ink Master” on Spike TV as well as the co-owner of The Strange and Unusual oddities parlor, but she recently took time out of her busy schedule to work with Inked Magazine on a very special project.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so Inked for a Cause, a column in Inked Magazine, paired tattoo artists with breast cancer survivors who have undergone mastectomy procedures to cover their scars with beautiful tattoos that fit their brave personalities to help them recover.

Malarkey gave New York City native Jennifer Smith, an athlete, yogini, and advocate for young people with cancer, her first tattoo, a detailed feather that will serve as “battle armor” to match Smith’s warrior spirit, as Malarkey explains in the video.

“What would a warrior goddess have decorating her shield? This!” Malarkey said as Smith looked at her new ink in the mirror.

Posting the video to her Facebook page, Malarkey called it a “humbling and amazing opportunity.”

“If I have any advice about anybody who’s going through some sort of physical struggle, even if it’s something besides cancer, you will get through it,” Smith said. “You have to get through it.”

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today. One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.

Each year, it is estimated that over 246,660 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. On average, every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and one woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes. Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 440 will die each year.

For more information on this disease and the importance of awareness and early detection, visit