An upbeat Florida pre-teen is putting a brave face on amid her struggle with terminal cancer by making make-up tutorials on YouTube for others dealing with the disease, bringing hope and warming hearts with her inspirational story.
Talia Joy Castellano’s make-up tutorials show unapologetically that her cancer treatments have left her with no hair. But 12-year-old Talia seems largely unbothered by her bald head, instead focusing on how to get your make-up just right as a cancer patient.
“Makeup,” Talia says, “is my wig.”
Talia turns 13 soon, though she may not have long to live without further treatment, reports ABC News. Despite dealing with immense pain day-in, day-out, Talia affects an upbeat attitude and rare vulnerability, winning the admiration of YouTubers and Internet users worldwide. The young cosmetics enthusiast has suffered from neuroblastoma since 2007 and recently learned that she is battling preleukemia as well, “which is a start of leukemia in [her] bone marrow.” She admits, “There are not really any treatments for it.”
In her newest video, Talia bravely admits that she could either get a bone marrow transplant or simply “live the time I have remaining.” Her comments, though heart-breaking, betray true strength and deep understanding on Talia’s part.
“Having cancer has been an amazing yet horrible journey — yet every journey has an end,” she said in her video. Despite strong encouragement from commenters, Talia fears she is too fragile to undergo such a procedure, admitting, “Right now, I’m leaning towards not doing it.”
Regardless, Talia is doing her best to selflessly help others in similar situations. According to Florida’s Blood Centers, who have been following Talia’s story, she recently helped MAC cosmetics and BASE camp (a foundation for kids with cancer) to host the “Glam Wars,” an event which gave beauty makeovers to girls with cancer.
“What I felt lying in bed that night was … passionate, grateful and accomplished. I felt good. I felt good to know that I made seven other young girls going through what I was going through feel amazing,” she told the Blood Center.
So why make-up? “I dont like wearing wigs so I wear makeup to feel good and pretty inside — and I guess outside,” Talia writes on YouTube.
Though Talia’s future is uncertain, her family is hopeful. Her mother, Desiree Castellano says, “The spots [on Talia's lungs] are getting smaller and that’s a good thing. Whether or not, they’ll always be there? We don’t know…it’s a quality of life and the chemo that she’s having is working and it’s a great quality of life, so that’s what we want and we’re just going to hope for the best.”
Here are some videos from Talia’s YouTube account, detailing a bit about her struggle and showing her doing what she does best – encouragement and true hope, through make-up.
Talia’s make-up tutorial:
Another beauty tutorial: