Popular 12-year-old makeup guru with cancer mulls difficult choice on treatment
(CBS News) On Aug. 7, YouTube makeup guru Talia Joy Castellano, a 12-year-old with a neuroblastoma cancer, shared with her viewers terrible news: She had developed a serious blood disorder that may lead to leukemia, and she was deciding between continuing treatment or living out the rest of her days.
"Everyone asks me if I'm scared. I'm definitely scared," she admitted in her video.
The pre-teen, who proudly says she'll be 13 soon, has posted 150 videos of herself giving makeup tutorials to show that people with cancer can still be beautiful. Claiming that makeup is just like a "wig" for her to feel comfortable, her videos have done more than show how to apply rouge and primer. They have inspired many, showing that bravery through illness can be the most courageous and beautiful thing to do.
According to Castellano, she's battling neuroblastoma, a malignant cancer that develops from nerve tissue and affects 1 out of 100,000 children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and preleukemia, which 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. Past treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy can increase the risk of developing the disease, and it can develop into acute myelogenous leukemia, a fast-growing and sever cancer, according to the National Marrow Donor Program. Recently, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts announced that she had been diagnosed with the disease, after beating breast cancer five years earlier, bringing it into the spotlight.
Castellano told viewers that there were not that many treatments that could target both conditions, and if she keeps using the low dose chemotherapy that she's on, she can live between four months to a year. However, she does have the option of undergoing a risky bone marrow transplant. Seeing that she's had so many surgeries already, she's leaning towards not doing any drastic measures.
"I know it's a lot to take in, where I'm leaning to is not doing it because I really just don't want to go through with it because the chances of surviving are fewer than surviving so, yeah, and if we even find a match for my bone marrow if my body rejects it, then I'm screwed. Then I went through all that crap for nothing and then, I, yeah..," she explained, shrugging.
Still upbeat, the young girl said that she would continue her makeup tutorials while she felt up to it. Viewers have flooded her comments section with words of support, remaking that it is incomprehensible that a 12-year-old would have to make such life and death decisions.
"The journey of having cancer was amazing," Castellano said. "But every journey has an end. I hope you guys understand what I'm saying, and understand where I'm coming from."
Watch the video below:
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