2012 DHS Grad Restores Breast Cancer Survivors

Eagle Alumni Spotlight: 2012 DHS Grad Restores Breast Cancer Survivors One Service at a Time
Posted on 10/29/2021
DHS Alumna Akilah

October observes Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More than 100,000 women undergo a mastectomy as a result of breast cancer each year. To help survivors regain their confidence and navigate life after mastectomy, 2012 DeSoto High School graduate Akilah Ellis-Bullard is helping women take steps forward in this experience through the use of her own unique talents and skills.

Ellis-Bullard, who attended Ruby Young, The Meadows, and West Middle School before graduating from DHS, went on to study nursing at the University of Texas at Arlington where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 

After graduating from college in 2017, Ellis-Bullard began her career as an operating room nurse at the Dallas Department Of Veterans Affairs. 

“I worked with a plastic surgeon who helped veteran breast cancer patients with breast implants and mastectomies,” said Ellis-Bullard. “Seeing the breast cancer patients’ emotional state while going through chemo, surgery, and learning to embrace their new bodies motivated me to pursue certification in paramedical tattooing.”

Paramedical tattooing is a relatively new concept, an advanced form of permanent cosmetic ink used to restore a person’s physical appearance by camouflaging scars or stretch marks, mimicking hair, recoloring skin that has lost its pigmentation, or restoring the appearance of certain body parts.

Physical changes experienced following an illness, injury or surgery, can impact a person’s sense of self-worth. In an effort to feel “normal” again, a growing number of people are turning to paramedical tattooing as a solution. 

“I enrolled in a course to learn about the anatomy of the body after breast cancer surgery, as well as how to apply the 3D anatomical replacement and color to match the skin based on race and ethnicity.,” said Ellis-Bullard. “Following my training, I honed my abilities and began working with breast cancer survivors to help them regain confidence and overcome insecurities.”

Ellis-Bullard’s early experiences alongside the breast cancer surgeon at the VA Hospital gave way to the launch of her paramedical services business--Inked by Malaya where she provides this unique and meaningful service among others including scar camouflage, post-surgical belly button enhancement, and ombre brow services.

“I love what I do, and my clients help me stay motivated and driven. As a result, I'm always learning about better ways to provide the most realistic look for survivors,” said Ellis-Bullard who said her current success in launching this service was the result of the foundation for lifelong learning and achievement she received as a student in DeSoto ISD.

“DeSoto shaped me into the person I am today by instilling in me the value of hard work, the importance of networking, and the discipline to never stop learning,” said Ellis-Bullard of the foundations learned in Athletics and in various clubs she was a part of as a student.

Recalling the teacher who had the greatest impact on her, Ellis-Bullard gave credit to her former AP English teacher Mr. Cox who pushed and challenged her.

“His class motivated me to grow as a person and be open to always learning. It didn’t matter if we were learning through reading, traveling or writing, Mr. Cox simply wanted us to be motivated to learn and I will always be grateful for that,” said Ellis-Bullard, who said her ultimate goal is to just make a difference.

In addition to her paramedical services, Ellis-Bullard also provides information and awareness at Breast Cancer Educational Events. Those interested may contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @InkedByMalaya where you can learn more about her services and work with survivors.