Talia Joy Castellano is 13 years old and has about four months to live. She has two different types of cancer. One thing that brings her some joy is the YouTube videos she creates where she teaches people how to apply makeup. She wants to continue them as long as she can.
Not all parents will allow their 13 year old daughter to wear makeup. This is one of the most common fights that parents and pre-teens, or teenagers, have.
The teen or pre-teen wants to look cool, and feels the need to visually indicate that she is not a little kid any longer. The parent wants to see their daughter remain a kid for just a little while longer, and also may object to the amount of makeup she chooses to wear.
This isn’t a battle that Talia Joy Castellano has to fight. Instead, her biggest battle is with not one, but two, types of cancer. She has been fighting cancer for about five years now, and has lost her hair as a result of treatment.
Talia has been making YouTube videos where she teaches people how to apply makeup the way that she does. She does not wear a wig, and says that makeup is her “wig”. For her, using makeup is a confidence booster. Her weekly YouTube videos are very popular. Over 100,000 people have subscribed to Talia’s YouTube channel.
Talia was first diagnosed with cancer on Valentine’s Day in 2007. The diagnosis was stage four neuroblastoma cancer. This is a type of cancer that develops from nerve tissue in infants and children.
According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment for neuroblastoma cancer can involve surgery to remove cancer cells and tumors, and it can also involve chemotherapy. Children with intermediate-risk neuroblastoma may undergo a combination of chemotherapy drugs before surgery, in order for the surgery to be more successful. Other treatment can involve radiation therapy or a stem cell transplant.
In addition to neuroblastoma, Talia also has leukemia. The same treatments for neuroblastoma are also prescribed for leukemia, (except for surgery). Talia endures chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplants, and blood transfusions once a week.
She can undergo a bone marrow transplant, but Talia says she is leaning towards not having it. Wise beyond her years, Talia understands that the surgery could be hard for her to recover from because, as she puts it, she already has had “so many surgeries its crazy”. This means she has about four months to one year to live. She plans to continue to make videos that teach people how to apply makeup for as long as she can.
Image by Retrograde Works on Flickr