Last month we introduced you to Brandi Rae Toney, otherwise known as Brae. She is the remarkable young woman who recently celebrated her 29th birthday despite doctors predicting she would not live past the age of 2. She is still continuing to defy the odds and living life while battling spinal muscular atrophy.
Brae chooses to document many of her life experiences and emotions through body art, so it’s no surprise the following quote from Purvy Ranaga is one of her favorites: “Life is a canvas. It’s up to you what colours you choose to paint this canvas of life into a beautiful masterpiece.”
Brae has several favorite tattoo artists including Dave Clark in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, Azha Sanders from Brookhaven, Mississippi, and Sizer Yerger, formerly of Monroe, Louisiana. Each has created masterpieces on various parts of her body that illustrate important parts of Toney’s life, a life that is surprisingly normal for a young woman her age and a life so many predicted she would not be living.
Each of her tattoos holds a significant meaning for Brae, but none more so than her son’s memorial tattoo.
“I was with a guy for five years on and off. We ended up getting pregnant, but the pregnancy was literally draining the life out of me, and in order to save my life we had to induce labor. I was far too early for my baby to make it,” Brae said. “A lot of people don’t see wheelchair users as romantic or able to live a normal life but I’m 29 years old, I’m mentally capable of making my own decisions, and I live my life just as anyone else would.”
Another Ranaga quote that Brae embraces is “Every life is a canvas and every interaction is a brush; therefore we’d be wise to consider how we handle the paint.” And when it comes to Brandi “Brae” Toney, it is certainly handled with care.
We invite you to visit Brae’s website at www.inked-babydoll.com and learn more about her and her fight against SMA. Next in our series, we will learn about the experimental medicine she is trying and how it is impacting her life.
Heather Mullins Williams contributed to this story.