I want to tell you the story of a brave young girl. On Valentine’s Day 2007, when she was just 6, Talia Joy Castellano was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma. Whereas it is true that neuroblastoma typically shows up in smaller children, it is not entirely unheard of in children over five and under ten. I am thinking the older you are when diagnosed with it, the greater your chances are of relapsing. It was certainly true for Talia. The first time her cancer was in remission, she got to live a treatment free life for thirteen months, and then in September 2008, her fight began again. This time, she went into remission for two years before relapsing just before her 11th birthday in August 20010, and again last April. She just found out on a few days ago that she has relapsed again, and this time the cancer is in her bones. And on top of that, she has pre-leukemia, which means, as she states in the video above, it will eventually become full-blown leukemia.
Talia is simply amazing in that she does not let cancer get the best of her – it may be claiming her body, but she refuses to let it darken her spirit and the light in her eyes. She is leaning towards not fighting anymore, doesn’t want to subject herself to anymore painful and toxic treatments that may or may not work. She has already gone through so much – surgeries, hospital stays, chemotherapy, medical testing, as well as experimental testing, and a stem cell transplant. The pre-leukemia means that if she should decide to go through with it. she would have to have a bone marrow transplant. Talia is leaning towards not doing it, because the recovery process is excruciating. However, she has not given up… She just wants to enjoy the rest of her life, however much time that is.
I found Talia last year, when I first started really advocating for childhood cancer and I am really ashamed to say that I haven’t been following her too closely until now. The vlog above is the first Youtube video of hers that I’ve actually watched. She usually vlogs about makeup and does tutorials, and even has her own Youtube channel – taliajoy18. She is quite famous in cyberspace and is such an inspiration to her followers and fans.
She will be turning thirteen a week from Saturday. I hope you will “like” her Facebook page, and join me in wishing her the best birthday ever. She deserves it!