Tara Kyle has found a way to combine two things that she is really passionate about: the fight against cancer and painting women's fingernails.
Kyle is a fingernail technician who works at Kerry's Kutting Krew in Estevan. For a number of years, she has been using her trade in a unique way to raise awareness about cancer.
It started in 2006, when Kyle was on a team for the inaugural Relay for Life in Estevan. One of her teammates, Candy Smyth, is a breast cancer survivor who wanted Kyle to paint a pink breast cancer ribbon on her fingernails.
“I played with it a little bit, and put a cancer ribbon in acrylic on her nail, and it kind of took off from there,” said Kyle.
Typically a client will ask her to paint a ribbon on one or two of her fingernails. Kyle also includes the colour associated with that form of cancer. Pink nails and ribbons for breast cancer are the most popular choice, but she'll has done light blue for prostate cancer, orange for kidney cancer, teal for ovarian cancer, and much more.
“It seems like everybody you know is affected by cancer, so I know what all of the ribbons are, and all the different colours,” said Kyle.
One of the more meaningful designs is the teal and white for cervical cancer, since his sister-in-law in Fargo, North Dakota, has battled that form of cancer.
October is her busiest time of year, since it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But she will also be asked to paint the ribbons in May or June prior to Relay for Life.
Kyle says that she has painted as many as 65 to 70 special cancer fingernails in a year.
The process is fairly simple, she said. She prepares the nail like she would for a nail fill, then applies the right colour of acrylic paint and the ribbon on the nail.
“It's a matter of learning to manipulate the acrylic, and getting it to go in the shape I want it to go,” said Kyle. “It's not really hard once you get used to it.”
Acrylic is a self-hardening substance, she said, and it doesn't have to go under a light to dry.
“As it's drying, I'm forming it into that shape of the ribbons, and then it just hardens,” said Kyle. “And then I usually put either a clear or a light pink, or a sparkly pink, over the top of them. Then they pop out, and you can see them in the nail. It's really quite neat.”
She said that she really enjoys the opportunity to paint nails in cancer colours, because it's a chance to show support for those who have been affected by cancer.
“I have a number in my family alone that have been affected (by cancer),” said Kyle. “And there's quite a few locally, including Candy. It's something that affects every one of us on some sort of level.”
Kyle has also launched a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She is selling tickets for a draw; ticket prices are one for $25, two for $40 and three for $50. First prize is five free nail fills; other prizes will be offered as well.
And clients who have a cancer ribbon painted on their nails this month will have their name entered to win a gift basket.