Teen With Cancer Goes to Prom With Full Head of

Texas teen Andrea Sierra Salazar’s princess-themed photo shoot went viral in August 2016. Besides looking beautiful in her flawless makeup, Andrea’s photos stood out because she took them without any on her head. Andrea had lost all of her hair after going through chemotherapy for cancer.

This year, the 18-year-old had her prom pictures taken, and she looked spectacular, showing off a head full of hair — but most importantly, she is now cancer-free.

“It’s been a really tough process,” Andrea tells Yahoo . “But I’ve managed to look into the positive things by asking myself, ‘What can I learn from this?'”

After waking up sick one night with a strange bump on her neck area, Andrea’s mom Adriana Salazar took her daughter to the hospital the next day. Doctors diagnosed the teen with stage 2 nodular sclerosis Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

eb88074dde.jpg

cf355885cf.jpg

(Photo by Gerardo Garmendia)

More

“Nobody in my family had ever had any type of sickness,” Andrea shares with Yahoo Beauty. “I was in complete shock that it happened to me.”

Having a strong mother, who works in construction, helped Andrea though the healing process. “We live very close to the [Mexican] border so there’s a lot of machismo,” mom Salazar tells Yahoo Beauty. “I had to be tougher than the toughest of my coworkers to get ahead and prove that I can do any job they can, even better.”

The single mother of three took this headstrong philosophy with her to her daughter’s chemotherapy treatments. “I needed a plan to bring her spirits up,” says Salazar. So the mom began to organize events that she knew Andrea would love — from walking in local fashion shows to photo shoots. Salazar wanted to make her daughter forget all of the physical pain she was going through.

“I’ve always loved modeling and acting,” says Andrea. “It makes me feel beautiful, and I’m truly passionate about it.” The princess photo shoot was a vision that came to Andrea after she’d done several photoshoots while wearing a wig.

spaceball.gif

fd1ac9873c.jpg

(Photo by Gerardo Garmendia)

More

“I wasn’t ready to be exposed yet, but then one day I felt it in my heart I had to do it without my wig,” says Andrea. “I did it so I can help others going through the same thing, [to] feel beautiful and confident about themselves.”

To bring the vision to life, Salazar reached out to her community and photographer Gerardo Garmendia answered their call. 

spaceball.gif

4ccf0fcdca.jpg

(Photo by Gerardo Garmendia)

More

Read More

“Gerardo and Andrea just understand each other,” says the mom. “He cares about her very much and that care translates to the photos he takes. His photos of her are just breathtaking.”

When it was time for Andrea to go to the prom, they asked Garmendia to take her prom photos. This time around, Andrea had a boyfriend by her side, a gorgeous new hairdo, and she was cancer-free.

spaceball.gif

cefb019b5c.jpg

(Photo by Gerardo Garmendia)

More

Both photoshoots have gained Andrea a loyal social media following, and she wants to use her platform to help others. Andrea and her mom have started a support group for teens with cancer, as well as teens who have gone into remission.

“We noticed that there were help groups for children with cancer, for old people with cancer, but there was nothing for young people who are going through it,” says Salazar. “I started finding people Andrea’s age who could relate to what we were through and vice-versa.”

The teen group meets every month and have formed a tight bond. The mom-and-daughter duo also do outreach and visit patients with cancer at different hospitals.

“I am one of the very blessed ones [who was] able to survive, but I know many my age who do not,” says Andrea. “I learned to see this as a huge blessing that brought my family together, and now I want to give back and help others let them know that just like I did, they can do it too. They can beat cancer.”

spaceball.gif

6d26a22774.jpg

(Photo by Gerardo Garmendia)

More

Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day. For Twitter updates, follow @YahooStyle and @YahooBeauty.

Yahoo

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks