Here's your daily dose of inspiration. This is Andrea Sierra Salazar, a 17-year-old girl who is fighting cancer and inspiring young children at the same time. Speaking to Buzzfeed News, Andrea shared her story from initial diagnosis to becoming one of the most inspiring viral stories of 2016.
Andrea said that she initially found a lump in her neck and then another in her chest that turned out to be cancer. She then made the decision to undergo chemotherapy. The gruelling chemotherapy treatment meant she faced missing time at school and losing her hair.
Appreciation post dedicated to the amazing people that made this last chemo a memorable one.Thank u for the support! pic.twitter.com/nkb0qMIZgv— Andrea Sierra (@sierraandrea99) June 26, 2016
Before chemotherapy, Andrea explains that she "had always been a confident person." When her hair started to fall out, she felt that confidence slip away every time she looked in the mirror.
With treatment keeping Andrea out of school, she began to dedicate more and more of her time to modelling - something she loved doing and had begun at the age of 13.
Not sleeping because I refuse to take off my makeup. pic.twitter.com/63DuSDQEQk— Andrea Sierra (@sierraandrea99) May 25, 2016
She experimented with many photographers, trying on wigs of all different colours and styles that reflected her fun loving, positive personality. She looked amazing!
I feel honored and humbled for being given the opportunity to share my story with the world. pic.twitter.com/Z6bL11AYKo— Andrea Sierra (@sierraandrea99) July 14, 2016
But it wasn't until she teamed up with Gerardo Garmendia did she have the confidence to pose without her wig.
"At first, I didn’t feel confident enough to do a version without a wig, 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."
She shared the pictures and they've since been retweeted almost 100k times.
Cancer doesn't stop me me from being a princess. pic.twitter.com/39RaDuVwkH— Andrea Sierra (@sierraandrea99) August 10, 2016
The reason for all of this? Andrea had seen many little girls who had been going through the same things as her. She explained how "you can see it in their faces that they lose all confidence in themselves.” She added, “I want them to know that your hair or your physical attributes doesn’t define who you are — what really matters is your inner beauty, the way you treat others, and if you’re a kind person, that shows through.”