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A Beautiful Angel
July 16, 2013 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Talia Castellano, the 13-year-old terminal cancer patient whose makeup tips made her a YouTube star, an honorary Cover Girl and a guest on Ellen DeGeneres's talk show, has died at age 13.

Talia's journey had previously been mentioned in this thread.
posted by DRoll (57 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Can't say it violently enough, but once again, FUCK CANCER
posted by C.A.S. at 12:20 PM on July 16, 2013 [13 favorites]

aw damn. thats real sad. poor girl. poor family.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:23 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm just gonna go over here and throw some things and yell "FUCK CANCER" for a while. Be back in a bit when I'm coherent.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:28 PM on July 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

posted by Kokopuff at 12:30 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by Katjusa Roquette at 12:41 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by 256 at 12:46 PM on July 16, 2013


This strikes close to home.

Cancer has affected me deeply in the last couple of years and for the record, I absolutely detest the "fuck cancer" slogan people throw around. It's probably just me but it seems pitifully trite. YMMV.
posted by Rumple at 12:55 PM on July 16, 2013 [24 favorites]

I'm trying to watch the vlogs on her website about her time in the hospital. But I'm a father and I have to hit pause, get up, and walk away from the computer every fifteen seconds.
posted by 256 at 12:55 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by Cash4Lead at 12:55 PM on July 16, 2013

Wishing as hard as I can every ounce of love and hope and peace I could possibly muster for her family and friends, because... holy shit this hurts.

Safe travels Talia.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:56 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by Gelatin at 12:57 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:58 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by sektah at 1:01 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by paladin at 1:01 PM on July 16, 2013

Argh. What a brave girl. Just keep swimming. You leave a lot of gratitude in your wake.
posted by phaedon at 1:03 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

posted by mean cheez at 1:03 PM on July 16, 2013

Say hi to my dad.

posted by Marky at 1:05 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

That's so sad. I had seen her on Ellen and thought she seemed a beautiful young girl, inside and out.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 1:22 PM on July 16, 2013

Glad she got the chance to make her mark. Oh, and fuck cancer.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:22 PM on July 16, 2013

The closest I get to believing in "afterlife" is witnessing the love of life and gratitude for it that just burns through from this kid in a stupid five-minute talk show clip. That can't just end up extinguished.
posted by thinkpiece at 1:24 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

posted by Halloween Jack at 1:27 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:31 PM on July 16, 2013

Cancer is something nobody should have to go through, let alone a child.
I hope someday humanity will be like Naked Mole Rats.
God Bless the family.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 1:37 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by zardoz at 1:37 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by warble at 1:41 PM on July 16, 2013

A baby niece of mine died of ATRT so "Fuck Cancer" is a phrase I use a lot. Eloquent and uniquely insightful it's not, but it expresses how I feel pretty well. That experience is part of why I was following Talia's story. She was an amazing, bright, good person and I'm sorry to see her gone.

posted by Drinky Die at 1:43 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm gonna go watch some of her videos and see if I can do 1/8 as good a job on my makeup as she did on hers.

posted by Sophie1 at 1:56 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by dbiedny at 2:30 PM on July 16, 2013

The pain of loss is always harder the younger and brighter they are.

posted by Mojojojo at 2:31 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by blob at 2:34 PM on July 16, 2013

Well, Rumple, maybe you think its trite to say Fuck Cancer, but as I've lost a 9 year old nephew to a brain tumour, one of my oldest best friends lost his 6 year old to neuroblastoma, my mom lost her husband to bladder cancer, I lost my (non-smoking) uncle to lung cancer, my (non-drinking) aunt to liver cancer, and my wife's best friend got a very odd, rare cardiac cancer that struck and killed this mom of 3 within a month this Christmas, I don't really know what else to say but Fuck Cancer.

Please advise for some more useful reaction, I could use it.
posted by C.A.S. at 2:42 PM on July 16, 2013 [11 favorites]

Everyone's different, but yeah, both prior to and since my own diagnosis, I've been in the Fuck Cancer corner. No stupid-ass pink ribbons for me. I want to rage.
posted by etaoin at 3:30 PM on July 16, 2013 [7 favorites]

posted by oceanjesse at 3:57 PM on July 16, 2013

Person 1: I am so upset by something so unspeakably horrible!
Person 2: (Rolls eyes) uggggh, that emotion is so last season.

Fuck cancer.
posted by basicchannel at 4:20 PM on July 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:00 PM on July 16, 2013

Sleep well, beautiful girl.
posted by kimberussell at 5:34 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by jim in austin at 5:38 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by cristinacristinacristina at 6:09 PM on July 16, 2013


Fuck Cancer.

posted by spinifex23 at 6:16 PM on July 16, 2013

Everyone's different, but yeah, both prior to and since my own diagnosis, I've been in the Fuck Cancer corner. No stupid-ass pink ribbons for me. I want to rage.

I'm the same way. Ever since my diagnosis at 33 I am all about the rage against the disease. None of that "positivity will save you; cancer is a gift bull shit" here.

Fuck cancer.

Rest in peace, Talia. I'm so sorry this horrible damn thing took you away from your family so very young.
posted by SuzySmith at 8:17 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have a toddler with cancer so I think at the least I am entitled to my opinion on the "fuck cancer" meme.

But to each their own.
posted by Rumple at 8:38 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cancer is such an asshole.

Talia was a bright and shining star, and I am grateful for her time in this world, even though it was entirely too short. Sleep sweet, beautiful Talia. We should all be as optimistic and cheery as you.

posted by MissySedai at 9:25 PM on July 16, 2013

If my cancer had worked its way much further down my uterus, I'd have been literally fucking cancer, so I feel entitled to the epithet.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:07 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rumple, of course. I'm not arguing with you; just reaching a different conclusion about how I see it. As I said, everyone's different. And peace to you and your family.
posted by etaoin at 10:15 PM on July 16, 2013

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but nobody is extra-entitled to an especially judgmental passive-aggressive "fucking detestable pitifully trite but to each his own YMMV" response to other people who probably share their own feelings about a unanimously horrible thing in a different way. I guess the trite / banal thing is simply expressing a dislike of cancer in a sloganeering sort of way, kind of like the "." and I've sometimes shared your sentiment but never felt it appropriate to declare it out loud.

What I got from your comment that I don't get from "fuck cancer" was "hey everyone, cancer affects me in a way none of you probably understand, and you're just banally saying something thoughtlessly because you don't really get it like I do, or maybe you do and that's just how you deal, whatever." That's a hugely insensitive brush to tar everyone with especially considering how likely it is that others are directly affected by the disease.

Like, I can't stand people who say "I'll pray for you" or whatever, but I don't walk into rooms full of people saying that and tell them they're [saying] fucking pitiful [things] to blithely make each other feel good about themselves.

It's terrible what you're going through, I wish you and your toddler the best.
posted by lordaych at 10:27 PM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Talia was adorable, spirited and smart, and I enjoyed her videos despite the fact I'm about as makeup-oriented as the average cabbage.
posted by gingerest at 11:01 PM on July 16, 2013

posted by Golden Eternity at 11:06 PM on July 16, 2013

Pursuant to Rumple’s comment on the “Fuck cancer” reaction and other people’s responses to it:

To this day I have a viscerally negative reaction to “fuck cancer.” In 2006 my uncle/surrogate father (it’s complicated) was taken by lymphoma. I remember feeling “No no no, no” and “Take it back, no, I can’t” and “please god, no” and sometimes – I’m not proud of it, but sometimes – “Fuck you for leaving me, why did you wait so long to go to the doctor? This is your fault, you did this.” But mostly “Please god, bring him back, Please, I can’t do this, please no.”

‘Fuck cancer’ never occurred to me. After the funeral I came back to New York and my job in a macho division of an artsy industry where I had hoped to find comfort from friends and colleagues, but when I told people what happened, who I had lost and how, the standard reply was, “Fuck cancer.” And then a change of subject. It came across as though they didn’t want to engage with my grief, and this was the best way to show solidarity without opening the floodgates for my emotions. I wanted a hug. I wanted to cry on someone’s shoulder and be soothed and supported but all I got was “Fuck cancer.”

Two years later my cousin’s three-year-old was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma. I sat with her on one of those uncomfortable and impossibly narrow benches/beds meant for parents in her son’s room at the children’s hospital while the nurse administered his first ever round of chemo. When he wanted to use the bathroom the nurse showed my cousin how to position the plastic pad on her hip before lifting him so that if any urine leaked on their way to the toilet she would be protected. “My baby’s first radioactive pee,” she said.

An hour later, one glass each into the bottle of wine I had smuggled inside, she looked at her toddler, sleeping with his mouth open because the tumor was blocking his nasal passages, and said, “Fuck cancer.” Yeah. Fuck cancer.
posted by philotes at 1:46 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

[Just a note: There might be an extended conversation/debate to be had about the "fuck cancer" catch phrase and how people feel about it in another sort of thread, but since this is an obit post for Talia Castellano, it might be better not to let it take over here. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 2:47 AM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cancer is not one disease, and increasingly we understand that now. Arguably it is the most unique and individuated of diseases, which is the idea motivating a lot of current research.

Hits close to home for me too. I think most of us affected by our own or a loved one's cancer would prefer well meaning people focus on the person, not their particular disease. And almost all of us will either get cancer or be close to someone who does. It's not rare or special as a human experience. Once you enter CancerWorld you see how much like regular life it all is.

In good news, there are huge breakthroughs happening for many cancers and a new targeted genetic understanding of cancers in general is revolutionizing science and oncological research and practice. A child born today may well live to see most cancers become manageable chronic diseases. We are achingly close to that for a few types already. But not yet.

And it's important not to be too utopian or too dystopian around people fighting cancer right now. Hope matters. Pragmatism matters. It's just a disease. Another way people die.

It doesn't care if you hate it. It doesn't pick victims by moral calculus. The capacity for neoplastic growth exists in all of us. In some of us it will become cancer.

Life is short. It ends tragically soon for some. Live like you're gonna die, because you will. And so will everyone you love. Or hate. And many more beautiful innocent children too. Stay strong, carry on, grieve, love, fight, accept. Repeat.

Also, fewer people know this than know about mole rats, but Bowhead whales live for centuries and apparently never get cancer. Researchers are on it, don't worry.

posted by spitbull at 4:12 AM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

To expand on spitbull's comment: cancer is not just one disease (PhD comics).
posted by lalochezia at 5:40 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Once you enter CancerWorld you see how much like regular life it all is.

I'm sure you mean something I'm not getting? You can get out, but you can never leave. It's not like regular life at all. Not at all. After four times, I'm in a parallel existence. I can fake it very well, mind you, but regular life is a thing of the past.

But I can't remember what it's like to not black-worry every time a bruise heals slowly, or a funny pain crops up in my back, or a headache strikes. Not to mention, the permanent game-face so my anxiety is not contagious to friends and family (of course they're supportive, but all anyone really wants is for me to be OK).

What I will say sounds corny: it can be the most incredible gift. Life may not be regular, but it's so sweet I weep with gratitude fairly frequently! I shrug off the small stuff, that's for sure.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:40 AM on July 17, 2013

Hey thinkpiece, I mean that cancerworld is full of regular people having real lives. It's not a world apart. "Having cancer" is simultaneously treated with horror and wonder by people that don't yet know it intimately. Both are normal reactions to have, of course. But it isn't a state of ascended grace and it isn't a state of waiting to die either, for most people, until the end. It's trying to live knowing a bit more accurately than most people how you are might die, and when. The expectation of either heroism or abjection is exhausting, even from the most well meaning people.

I mean (as someone who knows all too well what you mean), mostly, to make the point you make in your last sentence. Well said. Hang tough.
posted by spitbull at 7:47 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

OK, then, fuck all cancers. Fuck the one that I narrowly escaped, will almost certainly never recur, but left me with permanent side effects. Fuck the one that killed my dear friend within a month of diagnosis. Fuck the one my coworker is living a full, happy life with with day-to-day, and probably will for many years the same way I do with my chronic illnesses. Fuck the one that made my Grandma's last months painful, even though she'd lived a long, full life and was ready to go. Fuck the three different ones that have left another friend weaker each time. I have enough fucks to go around.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:34 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I sincerely apologize for the hurt feelings and offense caused by my emotional response to "fuck cancer", and the ensuent derail.

I wish peace and good health to all and their loved ones.
posted by Rumple at 11:51 AM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

posted by mistersquid at 12:58 PM on July 17, 2013

Rumple, no hurt feelings on my part at all, peace to you as well, lets all get through these wars together however it works for any of us
posted by C.A.S. at 1:43 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

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