I heard of Talia Castellano (also known as Talia Joy) a few months ago. Who is she, you ask?
Talia Castellano, the miniature makeup maven with her own YouTube channel, clothing line and honorary CoverGirl ad, has lost her six-year battle with cancer. She was 13.
Talia was a child who was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma on February 14, 2007 (age 7). She was cancer free for 13 months but relapsed in Sept. 2008. Again she was cancer free for almost 2 years, but sadly relapsed a second time on August 13, 2010 and then again for a third time on April 8, 2011. It was later diagnosed that her cancer had spread to her bones and she had developed pre-leukemia in the second half of 2012.
Despite multiple surgeries, hospital stays, lab tests, chemo treatments and experimental treatments, she continued living her life to the fullest. She started her beauty channel on YouTube, TaliaJoy18, saying that “Make-up is my wig”, and earned more than 750,000 followers with over 40 million views. She captivated the web with her makeup tutorials, where she appeared bald, and went through how to apply different styles of eye shadow and showed off finds from shopping expeditions. “I saw other girls making makeup videos on YouTube and thought it would be fun,” Castellano told TODAY.com. “I put one up and ever since then it gotten more and more popular. It’s cool that people are now seeing that fighting cancer is not just about chemo, and that there are different things that help us through the journey. For me that was makeup.”
With her funny, candid personality and determination in the face of a grim cancer diagnosis, her vlogs quickly became about much more than just makeup. “I’ve always been a really bubbly girl, and my mom always tells me to think about the positive,” she told PEOPLE in 2012. “Even though cancer is a negative, horrible thing, there are positives. For people to see that there are kids that get cancer… it’s just a true fact. Me putting a face on it makes a difference”. “How do you stay so positive?” Ellen DeGeneres asked Talia, to which she replied, “When people ask me that, I’m just, ‘What do you want me to do? Be depressed?” said Talia, whose motto was that of Finding Nemo‘s Dory, voiced by DeGeneres in the film: “Just keep swimming.”
Her fame brought her together with likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Miley Cyrus, Kendall Jenner and Justin Bieber. She was also awarded the privilege of becoming the only honorary CoverGirl, for inspiring hundreds of thousands of people with her YouTube makeup tutorials.
She was blessed with a very supportive and loving family, who stood by her through thick and thin. They respected her decision to not undergo bone marrow transplant; she explained, “…Right now I am leaning to not doing [the treatment] because I don’t want to go through that,” Castellano said haltingly in the video. “The chances of not surviving are fewer than surviving. If we even find a match, if my body rejects it then I am screwed, I went through all that crap for nothing.”
On July 16th 2013, Talia gave in to her disease, and left us all for an eternal, painless existence.
The passing was noted on her official Facebook page: