This article originally appeared and was published on AOL.com
Nothing can stop Stephanie Kelly, not even the chance of cancer.
The 42-year-old mother of four watched her mother battle breast cancer twice, most recently in 2015. So when she tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene, she made the “easy decision” to undergo a preventative double mastectomy to prevent getting cancer.
According to the National Breast Cancer Institute, BRCA significantly increases the risk of both breast and ovarian cancers, accounting for about twenty-five percent of “hereditary” breast cancers. Furthermore, those with the BRCA gene are more likely to develop mutations at a younger age. Stars like Angelina Jolie and Christina Applegate are all carriers of the BRCA gene — like Kelly, no one is immune.
“With the family history and just my general luck about things, I’d always expected breast cancer to play some role in my life. It would have been a great surprise if it had been negative, but I completely expected to hear it was positive. The genetic counselor joked that she’d never had someone be so calm and matter-of-fact about positive results before,” Kelly recounted to People about her diagnosis.
For her, losing her breasts was a “small sacrifice” to what could happen if she kept them. But when it came time to decide what to do after her mastectomy, she didn’t consider reconstructive surgery — instead, she went opted for a big Wonder Woman tattoo.
She said to People, “I have always loved Wonder Woman, and during this time I began to joke that I was going to be like Wonder Woman and be strong and unfazed by the things I needed to do that scared me. Friends and family sent me little gifts of Wonder Woman figurines, cards, clothes, even a full robe. It all helped me feel stronger and it was a way to feel all the love and support I had and bring that along with me.”
The heroic image extends past Kelly’s chest and down onto her torso. It took Kelly multiple sessions to complete the tattoo — but the representation is worth it. “I have this image of strength, power and fearlessness across my chest and that continues to build me up. I see my scars now as entirely positive.”
You can read the rest of her inspirational story at People.
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