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When She Showed Her Scars Publicly, She Never Expected Such A Strong Reaction

When Shelly Melton decided to pose for a bold picture showing her scars from breast cancer surgery and revealing her head stripped clean of hair from chemo and radiation, she thought a handful of people would see it at the most. Little did she realize that her personal photo would go viral, becoming an inspiration to myriads of women who have undergone the same surgery and treatment. Melton's brave photo shows her mastectomy scar as she covers her other breast with her hand. She also wears a compression sleeve that helps control the post-surgical lymphodema she developed. Her head is bald in the photo, and her expression is fierce.

Melton posted the photo to mark the one-year anniversary of her surgery, and she did so with the full support of her daughters. On the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she wanted to point out that fighting the disease is not just about wearing pink ribbons and celebrating togetherness, but that cancer is horrible and destructive. She wanted her friends to be aware that fighting cancer is indeed a battle, and she wanted them to see what it actually looks like when a woman undergoes surgery, chemo and radiation.

A year ago today I had a purple X marked on my right breast, I pulled the sheet over my head and cried. I have to admit…

Posted by Shelly Melton onWednesday, September 30, 2015

She thought only a few dozens of her friends would see it. But when the photo went viral, thousands of people shared it and many of them responded to Melton. Comments on her Facebook post called her beautiful, inspiring and courageous. As her photo traveled around the world, she ended up having to hit the Translate button to read the deeply heartfelt wishes and support coming to her in different languages.

Melton didn't know that eventually thousands of people would share her photo and that complete strangers would draw inspiration from it in their own battles. She continues to stand as an inspiration and as a reminder that one person's bravery can make a huge difference.Melton's fierce photo showed that even cancer surgery and treatment can't take away the true beauty of an individual.

Check out the Scar Project to see more powerful photos of brave women who have undergone similar treatment.

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