A Symbol of Strength


Agness Mbezi

Everyone has a story. 

Some decide to tell their stories by getting tattoos to symbolize a trial that they have endured.

For senior Tyra Canary, she couldn’t think of a better way to honor her mother’s strength.

“I have a tattoo of a breast cancer awareness ribbon, with boxing gloves hanging from it,” Canary said. 

Canary’s mom was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“She was 36 or 37 when she was diagnosed. It was really fast and it happened during Covid,” she said. “The year of 2020. As far as Covid went, her immune system is really low so I couldn’t go out. Even during covid, people hung out with their friends, but I couldn’t do nothing, just for the fact that I would be risking her health on a big scale.” 

Watching her mother fight breast cancer left a strong impression on her and opened her eyes on how people around the world are continuously going to the hospital, getting treatments, all to fight this unkind disease. 

“That’s why I got the boxing gloves,” she said. “It signifies the fight that people really go through dealing with cancer. Not just breast cancer alone, but cancer in general. It’s not an easy fight. There’s a lot of things people go through dealing with such severe sickness.”

Canary wanted to pass along her mother’s story and educate others on the trials that the people right next to them may be encountering behind closed doors. 

“(I got it on my neck because) it’s in a place where everybody can see it,” she said. “Other people see my tattoo at work and they ask me, ‘is that a breast cancer awareness tattoo?’ and I tell them ‘yea.’ And they just get to telling me their story, what they’ve been through, how I need to stay strong for her and how other people need to stay strong for her.”

As far as how painful the tattoo was, it was not just a stick and poke. 

“It definitely hurt. I’d give it a seven on a scale of one to 10, but I’d do it all over again,” she said.