“Cancer doesn’t stop me from being a princess.”
‘Not everything that happens is good, but something good will come out of it’ is a universal philosophy that has proven to be true more than once. For a teen living in McAllen, Texas, this is exactly what happened.
In February, 17-year-old Andrea Salazar went to the doctor after discovering a lump in her neck. She had no idea that the lump was actually a cancerous tumor. As you might expect, the news devastated her and her mother, considering there were no signs or symptoms.
Andrea told BuzzFeed News:
“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.”
After finding another tumor in her chest, the physicians diagnosed Andrea with Stage 2 Nodular Sclerosis Hodgkin Lymphoma. The treatment resulted in the teen who once had gorgeous locks to lose all of her hair.
At first, going bald resulted in Andrea losing her self-confidence. She says:
“Before chemotherapy, I had always been a confident person, so when my hair started to fall out I would look in the mirror and I wouldn’t feel that confident about myself.”
It was after her mother inspired her to take up modeling, a hobby she had been infatuated with since age 13, that life changed for the better. Andrea began taking advantage of her baldness and tried on lots of different wigs during photo shoots.
It was a photo shoot that she did bald, however, that won over the world. After modeling for a series of agencies and shoots, the teen posed for a series of photos captured by photographer Gerardo Garmendia without wigs. He says that he was inspired by her ability to embrace her baldness, and wanted to capture her strength and beauty. He definitely succeeded!
“[At first] I didn’t feel confident enough to do a version without a wig,” relays Andrea, “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.”
Recently, Salazar posted a few of the photos on social media with the caption: “Cancer doesn’t stop me from being a princess.” The post has since been shared nearly 100k times!
The 17-year-old says she is most proud of inspiring other girls her age to be confident no matter what disability they have – princesses come in all shapes and sizes and they’re beautiful.
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