Dreams can come true, a cliché statement but one that rings true for 26 year-old fashion industry insider, Victoria Newton. A New York City resident, who is celebrating her 11th year cancer free and has become a symbol of strength and success.
The young woman spent almost a year battling cancer, but has used the last decade to help others feel confident and beautiful.
At 14 years old, the eldest sibling of six said, “I was so close to death and when I was diagnosed I was given a month to live.”
“I had Hodgkins Lymphoma stage 3B,” she said of her diagnosis.
A cancer that negatively impacts the lymphatic system, which includes the spleen, tonsils, appendix and the thymus, a special tissue in the gut.
According to the Texas native, the cancer was all over her lymph nodes and in and out of her spleen.
“I almost had to have my spleen removed,” she stated.
IMPACT OF CANCER
Of course for the Newton’s family of eight, the discovery caused “lots of crying.”
“We all cried after we found out,” she said.
Explaining that, the “cancer call” came five days before Christmas. A time period when doctors were testing her and trying to figure out what was wrong.
This direct answer, just felt like another negative notch on her belt.
According to the survivor, “It was already a hard year because I was a freshman in high school. Putting cancer on top of that…(well), I became the ‘girl with cancer.’”
Ironically, “I didn’t really care that I was going to lose my hair. And some days got so hard that I didn’t really care that I could lose the battle.”
But one of the hardest parts was, “my friends (writing) me off for dead.”
It felt like, “they didn’t want to deal with the pain…(possibly) the loss of a friend.”
You know, “there were days when I wanted to give up.” A tough thought she owned up to. But, another one that came included, “what if God isn’t done with me yet.”
Newton said, “I would (start) asking him-do you want me to stay?” a powerful question that people of all ages have trouble finding the answer too.
But then I thought, what if God isn’t done with me yet, the self-proclaimed “creative type” stated, adding on to her prolific list of theories.
For Newton, this experience gave her the answer by leading her to “medicine.” A term she uses to describe the healing power of fashion and the act of giving back to her community.
As of now, the young lady has spent hours empowering and advocating for others, especially young girls.
“God gave me the desires in my heart,” she said of her jewelry creations and passion for the style business that came at her cancer camp attendance as a teen.
“Now that I’m older and in full remission I go back every year to Texas and volunteer at a kids cancer camp.”
“I give a week of my time every year and try to inspire the little girls, the teenagers there,” she said.
The designer explained that, “when I worked at Macy’s they would give me goody bags (and) I would give (the campers) the jewelry I made, samples and handbags and other stuff like that.”
The reactions when the young girls wore it, were that, “they just felt so pretty, feminine and they just wanted to show off, despite being there for the reason that they are there, it took their minds of it for a split second and they just felt like normal girls, pretty girls.”
Newton recalls one situation, when “I had one (girl) come up to me and she said,’I didn’t really get anything for Christmas this year because of my diagnosis, but this is more than I have gotten in a long time.'”
An experience, “that really touched me,” Newton stated.
It is also a sentiment that defies the superficiality of the New York City based materialistic world of fashion and reiterates the importance for all women to embrace who they are, even the “scars.”
For Newton, appreciating her post-cancer body has been a process.
“Physically it took me a while to get used to them,” a statement used to refer to her neck and chest scars.
“(Cancer) just changed me physically.”
Now, “I don’t have perfect skin (and) my hair is really thin.” But, “You know what, I am just thankful I have hair and the rest of my skin is still good.”
Yet, timing and death are still concepts that leave the millennial perplexed.
“It cuts deep when I loose a friend to cancer and I have lost some of my campers recently to cancer, that is really hard, just kind of wondering why God brought them home first.”
A dark and sad reality of the disease. However, the beautiful part of this story is Newton.
She never stopped dreaming and inspires others with this truth bomb: “Even though today and tomorrow may suck. There is always an end to the season and a light at the end of the tunnel.”
“Not everything ends at the diagnosis.”
Here here Victoria.
Stay tuned for updates on Newton as she goes through her next hurdle-the yearly cancer check-up.