Lovely 17-Year-Old Proves Cancer Can’t Dim Her Beautiful Spirit

by Johanna Silver
Johanna is a writer who lives, works, and volunteers in New York.

Getting diagnosed with cancer completely changes people’s lives.

Between the treatments and doctor visits, it can completely take over, leaving people with less time to spend with their friends and family.

It can also alter physical appearances, which can leave patients feeling less confident.

But many people fighting cancer have used it as an opportunity showcase their courage, smile through the tough times, and inspire others in the process like this brave mother.

And with a courageous photo shoot, one particular high school student battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma inspired the entire internet to continue doing what they love regardless of an illness trying to hold them back.

Armed with an amazingly beautiful blue dress, she staged the most beautiful fairy tale setting and proudly proclaimed that her illness hasn’t stopped her from being who she wants to be.

Check below to see her stunning shoot by Gerardo Garmendia, and learn more about her journey.

[H/T: BuzzFeed]


17-year-old Andrea Sierra Salazar was enjoying her life as a high school student who modeled on the side.

But her whole life changed when her mother took her to the doctor after discovering a lump on her neck.

The doctors then discovered lumps on her collarbone as well as her chest.

“There were no side effects,” she explained to BuzzFeed News. “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.”

She was diagnosed with Stage 2 nodular sclerosis Hodgkin’s lymphoma and began hospital treatments immediately, cutting into the time she spent modeling and at school.

And due to the chemotherapy treatments, she also lost her hair.

Still, her mom suggested that she make the most of her time spend in treatment and continue modeling.

She shared her daughter’s story with many different photographers, all of whom were thrilled to work with her.

But one photographer, Gerardo Garmendia captured her in a particularly stunning set of photos.

Salazar modeled an amazing blue gown fit for royalty and rocked it without a wig.

The photos show off her beauty and spirit that are undeniable even without her hair.

“It’s not only about my outside beauty, it’s about the inside. That’s what really inspired the photo shoot without the wig,” she explained.

She shared the photos with the world on Twitter with the caption, “Cancer doesn’t stop me from being a princess.”

And the support for post was overwhelming, with over 90,000 retweets!

Her confidence to continue doing what she loves despite her cancer showed that the illness does not own her, nor does it make her any less amazing.

The post is an inspiring reminder that inner beauty shines through, regardless of how faces and bodies change.

Garmendia explained that she came up with the theme all by herself, and initially wanted the photos to help young girls who were battling similar illnesses to be confident in themselves. 

But she never expected the photos to be shared so many times!

Her amazing princess photos remind everyone that they can still feel beautiful regardless of what their hair, face, and body looks like.

Though she has to battle cancer, Salazar has clearly only gotten stronger and more beautiful along the way.

If you respect this bold and beautiful young lady, make sure to SHARE with friends and family on Facebook.