living with cancer

talia star

Living with a life-threatening illness was the class discussion from this semester that resonated most with me.  I found Talia’s story to be compelling and indicative of successful coping in the face of a life-threatening illness.

Talia Joy Castellano was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at age 7.  She became an internet sensation at 12 years old with well over 1 million subscribers to her YouTube channel.  She was a self-taught and accomplished make-up artist  who posted how-to videos to help herself feel beautiful after losing her hair due to cancer treatments.  Her bubbly personality and unique way of coping with her illness inspired countless people all over the world.   Talia shared her story on The Ellen Show and she was made an honorary Cover Girl.  Talia became a voice for children with cancer and an example for everyone of how to live life to the fullest.

tailia truth365

Talia developed a second cancer, leukemia, in August 2012.  At almost 13 years old, Talia was well aware of her condition and prognosis.  She made the decision to forgo a bone marrow transplant and chose to live what time she had left to the fullest.  That seems like an amazing decision for someone so young, yet Talia was wise beyond her years.  It seems easier to accept that an older person would chose quality over quantity of life, yet when a young person does this, it can be perceived as a tragedy. Many of Talia’s fans didn’t seem to understand or accept her decision.

talia mind over matter

“Basically there aren’t a lot options for treatment anymore.  The docs gave me to option of doing treatment or don’t do the treatment and just live life for the time remaining.  Having cancer has been an amazing yet horrible journey,  yet every journey has an end.”



Below is her video explaining about her latest diagnosis and why she felt a bone marrow transplant was not the right treatment for her.

“I’m going to decide on whether or not I want to do the bone marrow transplant, or whether or not I just don’t do it and the live the time I have remaining,” said Talia.  ”This isn’t fair to me anymore, I’m only 13. I shouldn’t have to be doing this.”

talia night


Talia went through so much in her short life and yet she chose how she wanted to live the last 11 months of her life.  Sadly, Talia lost her life in July 2013, but clearly her message will not be forgotten.  Follow Talia’s story at her website.


One thought on “living with cancer

  1. While working for Chanel cosmetics it was my duty to stay on top of new techniques and products. This was how I first came across Talia. She was such a beautiful spirit, and so incredibly talented. It was beyond inspiring to see how strong and brave she was especially at such a young age. She never stopped doing her vlogs until the end when the pain was too much for her and that too is a testament of the importance of continuing living life and doing what you love until the end. Her legacy lives on by the foundation she started and the videos she recorded for the world to see.

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