It is amazing what people living with adversity can teach us about strength and inner beauty. It is even more poignant when those lessons come from a young person.
Now, a special young woman who has beaten cancer is sharing a message of confidence and grace under pressure, inspiring others who have lost their hair from the effects of chemotherapy.
Andrea says “There were no side effects, I wouldn’t have known [I had cancer] until one day I felt like I slept wrong, and my neck hurt. I patted my neck and I felt a really big ball.”
Her doctors discovered that she had two tumors, one on her neck and one in her chest, and subsequently diagnosed her with stage two lymphoma.
The treatment process would be long and arduous, and required her to take a leave of absence from school. To lift her spirits and give her something to do, her mother suggested that Andrea do some modeling.
“Before chemotherapy I had always been a confident person,” she says, “so when my hair started to fall out I would look in the mirror and I wouldn’t feel that confident about myself.”
Andrea had done some modeling since she was thirteen years old, but when she lost her hair due to her chemo treatments, she suffered a bout of low confidence. At first she tried to work with wigs, but it did not really seem right. So she embraced her condition.
As it turns out, getting in front of the camera was just what she needed, both to regain her confidence, and become an inspiration to young women suffering from cancer everywhere.
She went to a few sessions with a number of photographers, and then as is so common with the best art, magic happened. Gerardo Garmendia took a series of photographs of her without a wig on, and she looks radiant.
After the shoot, Andrea took to social media, tweeting the spectacular image of her in a gorgeous blue dress in a fantasy sitting room. The caption on the picture reads “Cancer doesn’t stop me being a princess.”
Since posting it, over one hundred thousand people have retweeted it and she is becoming a supermodel for courage and strength.
Speaking about the whole experience Ms. Salazar says “[At first] I didn’t feel confident enough to do a version without a wig, but then I realised that I had no reason to be ashamed of the way I looked, I should be proud. It’s not only about my outside beauty, it’s about the inside. That’s what really inspired the photoshoot without the wig. I see all these little girls, and you can see it in their faces that they lose all confidence in themselves. I want them to know that your hair or your physical attributes doesn’t define who you are – what really matters is your inner beauty, the way you treat others, and if you’re a kind person, that shows through.”
Do you know any heroic and beautiful young women? Share their inspiring stories with us here.