This Model Turned Her Cancer Diagnosis Into a Message of Empowerment (PHOTOS)

dayna marie christisonNot so long ago, our standard of beauty was pretty narrow. But the fashion industry is finally waking up to the fact that beauty comes in all forms, and model Dayna Marie Christison is the latest example: The stunning 25-year-old model didn't become a success until after she lost her hair from chemotherapy!

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Christison was a senior at LIM College's fashion business program in New York in 2012 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Initially, she was told she had stage II cancer; after graduating, she found out she was actually stage IV. 

It's been a rough road ever since: numerous rounds of chemo; stem cell treatments; the cancer spreading into her lungs. But Christison didn't let any of it stop her from living her life, which is why when a photographer friend asked if he could take some photos of her for his fashion portfolio, she was happy to oblige. She'd done a little bit of modeling as a kid, and while she didn't have any interest in modeling professionally, she wanted to show that bald could be beautiful.

"I thought that would be a great opportunity to show people that it's okay to look this way and keep going and feel strong," she told Today. "I really wanted to do that for others."

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And she did: Just a year later, Christison signed a contract with Major Models (right around the same time she entered into a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering). Since then, her career has taken off: She's walked the runway at New York Fashion Week, posed for Urban Outfitters, and acted in TV commercials. Even though she's still in treatment, she schedules her work around her doctor appointments and says bookers have been "very understanding." And why wouldn't they be -- just look at this girl!

This ones for the kiddens �

A photo posted by Dayna Marie (@runnndmc) on

Stunning.

Oh �� hey @urbanoutfitters

A photo posted by Dayna Marie (@runnndmc) on

WOW!

Popped collar club. Member since '05. � .�: @spadestudios

A photo posted by Dayna Marie (@runnndmc) on

What a beautiful soul. And how amazing that she's taking such a difficult experience and using it to inspire others with a perspective that's incredibly brave and truly rare.

"People need to see it's still okay to live your life if you have this disease," she told Today.

"It's not the end of the world. You just have to push through and persevere."

Wise words for all of us!

 

Image via runnndmc/Instagram

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