A swimsuit model shares her mastectomy scar

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Oct. 28, 2022 – Kelly Crump never expected to be a model this year sports illustrated Swimsuit issue, and she definitely never thought she’d be the first cancer patient show a mastectomy scar on its sides.

Her path to this photo was an act of perseverance. In 2020, at the urging of one of her friends, Crump, who spent her career as a manager in the fashion industry, submitted online photos to the magazine’s editors for the first time.

“I took bikini photos in my back garden — in the snow,” says Crump, who was diagnosed with stage III invasive breast cancer five years ago at age 38 after discovering a lump in the lower part of her left breast had where her chest met her ribs.

After a lumpectomy, she found out her tumor was HER2 hormone positive. She wanted to start chemotherapy immediately, but she and her husband wanted to do an in vitro fertilization cycle first. In January 2018, she began chemotherapy.

When she went to have her chemoport removed in May 2018, a nurse sent her for a PET scan. It was then that her healthcare providers discovered that she had grown a new 2-inch tumor in the same breast.

“The best option for me at that point was a mastectomy — a preventative right one and a left mastectomy,” she says, adding that she then did seven more rounds of chemorrhage before learning in 2019 that the cancer had spread to the lymph Lumps in her neck, spine, 12th rib and lumps in her armpit. She is currently living with a diagnosis of stage IV metastatic breast cancer.

And although she wasn’t chosen to model for the magazine in its first year, she remained undaunted and approached the editorial team again the next year.

This time she became a finalist, was chosen to model for the magazine, and within a week flew to the S.I Filming in the Dominican Republic.

Then came Crump, now 42, a certain swimsuit – and an idea.

“One day we did a fitting and I chose a blue and yellow suit with the colors of the Ukrainian flag,” she says. “My face lit up from the colors and also from seeing it was a single-breasted suit.”

What happened next happened organically.

“The editor and I started talking about my port scar and she asked if I was comfortable showing it,” she says. “I’m very open about all my scars, so I told her I had no problem showing that scar and my mastectomy scar.”

Two days later she was on set in this suit, the first in sports illustrated ever show a mastectomy scar.

“That moment felt like something bigger was being handed to me,” she says. “Everything was how I wanted it to be shown and it was the best way to convey my message that you can feel sexy – even after the trauma of breast cancer and rebuilding.”

Since then, Crump, who works her days as a cancer and wellness coach, has received a lot of positive feedback from other women, which helps her stay positive despite the challenges of everyday life with cancer and the fact that she’s committed to chemotherapy IVs every 21 days.

“Every day I get texts from women saying things like ‘I don’t feel good about myself and my scar since my surgery,’ ‘You made me rethink how I feel about myself,’ and ‘I don’t have it I’ve taken my shirt off in front of my husband since my surgery, and now I will,'” she says. “I never dreamed of being there S.I and say, “I want to stand there and show off my mastectomy scar and be proud of it.” I could have been in many different photos, but I did it for everyone else. That was what was so powerful.”





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