You’re a survivor and that is amazing.


Each day older I grow, I understand more the reality of what it means to have survived childhood cancer. As a younger person, it was just a part of my life; I hadn’t seen much else, and I was just too busy playing to understand what it means to still be alive today. But now, I marvel at my leg, my hair, and my beating heart. Let me tell you why.

I stood up one morning. I took a step, and my knee gave out beneath me. I never knew that I’d never walk on that leg again. I ate my vegetables, and I slept full nights, and I was even nice to my friends. I never would have expected cancer. I probably would have just called you a liar if you would have told me that was really going to be my life.

But alas, I couldn’t walk. Soon, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t get out of bed. Sometimes, I almost couldn’t breathe. To say that it’s a humbling experience to face mortality is just more of an understatement than I can explain. No one can walk to death with you. It’s you, and Jesus, (which is why you need Him), and death. I met myself in ways that I cannot describe.

I remember laying in bed begging God to make the throwing up end. To bring my friends back to life, and to just make it all be okay. And seriously, I don’t even know how I survived. I looked dead almost every day for a full year.

But then I did. I started to take steps on crutches. I made myself get out of bed. Jesus restored my spirit, and I locked eyes with death, and shook my head, “no.” And I just turned and walked away into the rest of life.

I am 23 now, and I feel like I grasp that death didn’t win, but that it sure could have. My fingers move, I can take a deep breath, and I can kiss my nephew. And it’s very much on purpose that I am alive.

The take-away is this. If you haven’t met death yet, listen to what I say. Right now, you’re a survivor, and that is amazing. Don’t take that for granted.

….because love wins.

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Thank you, Talia.


Image

I didn’t know you, not in person.
It’s true.
But I knew you, in the heart,
I got you.

You were beautiful.
Not because of the makeup.
But because of the goal.
Because you spoke up.

We fight this beast every day.
It killed you.
It killed them.
When will it be through?

I’m a cancer survivor, sure.
But what is surviving?
Pretty lame if all your friends still die.
We were meant to be striving.

I know you won’t share any more words.
That your family will never get their little girl.
That you would have lived so big.
And that you would have changed the world.

And I know you still will.
Because you’re you.
Because you had kid’s cancer.
Because you walked it through.

But I wish you were here.
I wish your scans were clear.
And I wish we could really meet.
Your momma wishes you were near.

But you’re not.
So we’ll keep on.
We’ll dance.
Watch the stars.

We’ll watch Ellen.
We’ll talk about you.
We’ll stop this beast.
We’ll make lives new.

From MSN News:

“Talia Castellano, a charismatic 13-year-old Florida girl with cancer who inspired people around the world with her online videos about makeup and who became an honorary face of CoverGirl cosmetics, has died.

Talia, who had been fighting neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer, for six years, died Tuesday morning with her family by her side.

The passing note was pasted on her official facebook page:

“It is with a heavy heart that we share with all of you that Talia has earned her wings at 11:22 a.m. Please lift her beautiful soul, her beautiful light to heaven and please send your love and prayers to her family during this most difficult time. Godspeed, little one, may you be free from pain and suffering, may your soul feel the light and love that you brought to so many of us on this Earth during the short time you were here with us. We will miss you more than you will ever know, baby girl.”

Talia’s YouTube channel, filled with videos of tutorials about makeup, drew hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Talia didn’t like wigs to cover her bald head, but she loved wearing makeup.

“It’s really cool to know that people watch me, and that they like me, and they think I’m inspiring,” she told Fox 35 in an interview last year. “Every single comment that I get that says they think I’m inspiring or whatever, it feels so good. It’s really cool.”

Talia had many TV appearances, including one on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in September.

DeGeneres, a representative of CoverGirl, made Talia an honorary CoverGirl, complete with her own portrait. Talia was also given a check for $20,000 from the makeup brand and appeared in an ad in People magazine for CoverGirl.

ImageTalia was featured in the documentary movie “The Truth 365,” about kids fighting cancer.

DeGeneres took to Twitter to express her condolences.

“This year I met a very special girl, and today we lost her. Sending my heart to Talia’s family. I’m so sad,” the talk show host tweeted.”

And you can help us end childhood cancer. No one should be just a good story. We should be moms, dads, sisters, grandparents, softball players, professional make-up artists. We shouldn’t be dead.

If you’d like to end childhood cancer with us, please watch this documentary, and “like” TheTruth365 on facebook. You’ll see my story featured there as well.

To all those who help, thank you.

To Talia, thank you.

Let’s stop childhood cancer.

…because love (has to) win.