Tania Castellano was seven-years-old when she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer of the nervous system. Despite the diagnosis — and the harrowing treatments — Talia pressed on with the business of living. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Talia reveled in her favorite activity — playing with makeup — and created a thriving YouTube presence with more than half a million subscribers. Her channel, Makeup Is My Wig, features hundreds of videos. There are videos of her happily chatting to the camera, (seriously really good!) makeup tutorials, and reviews of her favorite new shopping purchases, or hauls. Basically you could spend, like, a thousand hours watching Talia’s videos and never get sick of them. She’s smart, funny, approachable and really, really cute.
Earlier this year, after multiple rounds of treatment, Talia found out that the cancer had spread all over her body. Now 13, she knows she doesn’t have much more time, but has a few things she’d still like to accomplish. On the top of that list? Becoming a fashion designer — even if she’s designing from a hospital bed. And that’s where fashionista Urbana Chappa — herself a cancer survivor — stepped in. She’s collaborating with Talia on a new fashion collection called That Bald Chick, which reflect Talia’s upbeat personality and spunky style. Plus! All proceeds from the collection’s sale will go to Talia’s family, who are facing sky high medical bills.
For her part, Talia has a very Zen approach to her cancer. “I’ve gotten so many benefits from [cancer],” she said in one of her videos. “Having a YouTube channel, having to inspire people and having people look up to me … the journey of having cancer was amazing. But every journey has an end.”
After the jump, The Frisky speaks with both Talia and Urbana about their collaboration, and how fashion keeps Talia’s spirits up. Keep reading »
For the past week or so, I’ve had a small itchy rash on my cheek. Yesterday I finally went to the doctor, and by “went to the doctor” I mean I typed “itchy cheek rash” into Google, read about the most dire medical problems that include cheek rashes in their list of symptoms, and convinced myself I’m going to die. Are you interested in diagnosing your medical problems online? Want to guarantee the lowest level of accuracy and the highest level of panic? Not sure where to start? Read on to try my patented 10-step method, illustrated by GIFs… Keep reading »
Feeling bad because you swiped the last bagel at Starbucks? Don’t. There are actually evil people in the world, like Brittany Ozarowski, 21, who pretended to have bone and brain cancer to bilk concerned family and friends out of hundreds of thousands of dollars to support her heroin habit.
Ozarowski, of Medford, New York, got $100,000 from her grandmother, who sold her house to fund her faux cancer treatment. Her father cashed in his retirement fund to offer up another $25,000. She also targeted Walter Warren, a neighbor who had lost his own son to cancer in 2007. Keep reading »
Fighting cancer is difficult for anyone, but especially for people who lead particularly active lives before their diagnoses. John Wilson was an avid hiker, biker and basketball player before being diagnosed with Epithelioid sarcoma in 2006. A rare and aggressive soft tissue cancer, treatment required that Wilson’s left leg be amputated. Undaunted, within months, Wilson was back to some of his favorite activities, and quickly realized the therapeutic power of sports and nature. In 2010, he founded the AKP — Always Keep Pedaling — Foundation, dedicated to helping other cancer survivors regain their zest for life via outdoor adventure activities. “At AKP we believe that the best way to build confidence is to take healthy risks,” says Wilson.”The purpose of the AKP Foundation is to build the confidence of young adults who have suffered physically altering trauma due to cancer by helping them find adventure through adaptive sports.” Twice a year, Wilson and AKP host a retreat, inviting young cancer survivors who might not otherwise have the means or access, to come together and bond while taking part in fun physical activities like skiing and biking. The experience has been life-changing, and many participants say that it’s what’s helped them move on from surviving to really living again. I dare you to get through this video without tearing up. And to find out how you can help cancer survivors click here. [AKP Foundation]
Katelyn Norman, a 14-year-old from Tennessee, suffers from an aggressive form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma. Last weekend, her doctors told her ”it has spread a lot, my cancer, and that it’s the beginning of the end of my days.” Katelyn wrote up a bucket list, which included attending her high school prom, and her school obliged, planning a prom especially for her that was set to take place on Tuesday evening.
Unfortunately, on the way to the dance, Katelyn experienced difficulty breathing and and had to be airlifted back to her room at Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Undeterred by the setback, Katelyn’s school brought prom to her: in a hospital room decorated with streamers, Katelyn’s date gave her a corsage, and she was presented with a “Prom Queen” sash. When Katelyn looked out the window, she saw hundreds of people from her community gathered in a vigil for her. “We just want to give her what she ain’t going to see,” says Katelyn’s mother. “Just try to fulfill what she wants to do, which isn’t much, but it’s something to her.” See a couple more pictures of Katelyn’s special night after the jump… Keep reading »
If you haven’t had a chance to read Kate Bornstein’s memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger, go out right now and buy it. The woman has lived an incredible life — from being a male Scientology scout, to prize-winning playwright, trans activist and gender outlaw — and somehow managed to keep her wits and sense of humor through it all.
And now, after all of that, Kate’s battling cancer. Keep reading »
Did you know that about 10,000 “young” women will get breast cancer this year? I do now. I am one of them.
It all started while my boyfriend and I were away for a long weekend to celebrate my 29th birthday. We were lying in bed and I reached my arm across my body. There it was — a lump, in my breast. It was big, and it was bumpy; it felt like a mutant cauliflower had taken root in the soft tissue of my otherwise pillowy breasts.
This was new. Three short months earlier, I had had a breast exam during my yearly OB-GYN exam. My doctor didn’t feel a thing. I had always been hyper aware of my breasts, ever since an ex-boyfriend found a 2 cm jelly bean (which turned out to be a harmless fyberadenoma) and my doctor had told me that I should pay attention to it and watch for changes.
That jellybean was my first of what would be many biopsies. Keep reading »
Ladies, do you love a mustache? (I don’t — keep your disgusting facial hair away from me). If you do, though, you’ll be happy to know that tomorrow is the start of Movember, a month-long mustache-growing festival to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer. Mo Bros, as they’re called, proudly display their repulsive facial hair, hold mustache-growing contests and raise money to support men’s health causes. [YouTube]
Boing Boing co-editor Xeni Jardin was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and started treatment–a brutal trifecta of chemo, surgery, and radiation–in January. When she finally finished, her friend Michael mentioned that she deserved a medal for her accomplishment. And then he made her one, complete with an inscription declaring her the winner of the “Poison, Cut, Burn Tri.” Jardin was thrilled: “I want to give one to everyone I meet who makes it through to a similarly meaningful milestone in their cancer treatment,” she says. “This is so much better than a pink ribbon.” Keep reading »