A 12-year-old cancer patient who has inspired thousands by chronicling her five-year journey with the terminal illness via YouTube, made a frank and heartbreaking admission on Tuesday that she could die within a year.
"Basically, I have two types of cancer in my body," Talia Joy Castellano said directly into her laptop camera on Tuesday. "They are both very, very serious, and very, very, aggressive cancers and they spread very quickly and they are both very, very deadly."
Having cancer has been an amazing yet horrible journey but every journey has an end.
- Talia Joy Castellano, 12-Year-Old Cancer Patient
Castellano, who lives in Florida, spoke frankly and maturely in her latest video blog on Tuesday, which has broken hearts and inspired over 60,000 views.
The vivacious pre-teen who has relapsed three times in her fight against neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer, must also now fight pre-leukemia in her bone marrow and her chances of surviving are slim. It’s extremely rare to have both of these cancers at the same time.
Castellano’s treatment options are limited and she must decide whether to do a bone marrow transplant or to continue with chemotherapy. Her doctors have said the chances of her surviving the bone marrow transplant are “very, very low.”
“The docs gave me the option of doing treatment or don’t do the treatment and just live life for the time remaining,” she wrote. “Having cancer has been an amazing yet horrible journey but every journey has an end.”
The teen said she is leaning towards living out the remainder of her life, which doctors say could last anywhere from 4 months to a year if she continues her chemotherapy sessions.
Castellano was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2007. Since then, she has uploaded 150 videos on her YouTube channel talking about a range of topics from how to cope with cancer, to makeup fashion tips for middle schoolers.
Her YouTube channel has over 110,000 subscribers with over 8 million views.
Scan through her videos and you’ll discover an eloquent and funny girl that captivates you with her courage and everyday stories.
Castellano talks about how distraught she was when she first learned she would lose her hair, her disdain for wigs, and how she has come to accept her bald look.
“That’s why I really go into makeup and beauty – it puts on a wig and it makes me feel beautiful,” she says.
She talks of her journeys to Philadelphia where she receives her chemo once every three weeks and how she flies back the same night so she can go to school.
“Education comes before anything,” she says. “It comes before YouTube, it comes before beauty.”
Despite being “scared” she remains loyal to her fans assuring the world she’s OK.
"Don't freak out,” she said in her latest post. “It's not like it's going to be tomorrow. Nothing is for sure...we still don't know if there are any other options."