CoverGirl has released a campaign-style image of Talia Castellano, who became an honorary face of the makeup brand last month.
The 13-year-old girl was diagnosed five years ago on Valentine's Day with stage 4 neuroblastoma. But she is not letting cancer ruin her spirits.
In a society where people seem to be defined by their looks, Castellano said in a video posted on YouTube that after she learned about her diagnosis, her reaction was: "You don't think like 'Oh my God, I'm going to die. It's more like, I'm going to lose my hair. I'm going to be skinny.'"
During her childhood, Castellano endured rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplants, and radiation. But this strong young girl has proven that beauty comes in all forms. She chooses not to wear wigs after losing all of her hair, and her slogan is "Makeup is my wig."
She appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, after becoming an internet sensation. Castellano used YouTube as a way to inspire other women who may be going through the daunting circumstances she is facing. Castellano has her own channel, which she uses to post mini-makeup tutorials and words of inspiration and has 60,000 subscribers and over 14 million viewers.
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“You really are quite something,” DeGeneres told Castellano. “There's a depth to your soul that is not a 13-year-old soul. You’re an old soul and you are very special and amazing, and I’m so honored that you wanted to meet me and that I got to meet you.”
In August, on her YouTube channel, Castellano revealed that she has developed another type of cancer.
"I have preleukemia in my bone marrow" she told her viewers. Preleukemia, is now known as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). MDS is a condition where stem cells in bone marrow do not mature into healthy blood cells, according to the National Institutes of Health.
"There's nothing really out there that treats both type of cancers," she went on to say, as both are very aggressive and spread quickly throughout the body. She now has to decide if she wants to do a bone marrow transplant, in which her diseased bone marrow would be destroyed and healthy marrow would be infused into her blood-stream, or live out the time she has remaining.
Currently, she is leaning toward not having the transplant, as the chances of surviving "are fewer than surviving" she explained, plus there is the complication of not finding a match for her bone marrow or finding a match and then having her body still reject the bone marrow.
"Everyone asks me if I'm scared. I'm definitely scared," she admitted.
If she does not go through with the transplant, doctors told her she can live for four months to a year.
"This is not fair to me anymore ... No one should have to do this," Castellano said.