Update: Following a 10-month battle with stomach cancer, blogger Kyrzayda Rodriguez passed away on September 9. Last month, she revealed that she was stopping her cancer treatments. "Chemo and radiation will be discontinued because it is not working the way I hoped it would," Rodriguez wrote. "I have decided to stop these treatments so that I can enjoy the rest of my time with my friends and family and to be as pain free as possible." Followers have taken to social media to express their condolences and share her story in hundreds of posts under the hashtag #YouInspireUsKyrzayda. Refinery29 spoke with Rodriguez a few weeks prior to her death, and she shared why she never wore a wig, how her followers brought her joy, and why she never gave up on her passion.
This story was originally published September 6, 2018.
When blogger Kyrzayda Rodriguez was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer in 2017, she felt a moment of defeat. Right then, she considered ending her career as a fashion blogger and content creator. But she realized that it'd be against her love for letting people into her life, whether good or bad, so she decided to continue posting. From her diagnosis to her treatments and even her hair loss journey, Rodriguez has kept her 300k+ followers updated on her cancer battle, always maintaining a positive outlook.
Recently, the blogger announced that she is ending cancer treatment to live her days pain-free with friends and family. And still, her optimism remains strong. "What is supposed to happen will happen," she wrote. "I am not mad. I am grateful for all of the opportunities I have been blessed with." With this spirit, followers continue to root for her, which can be seen in the thousands of comments left on her photos. It's because of this support that she continues to push forward, not letting cancer stop her from being the blogger she always felt she was meant to be. Rodriguez spoke to us about her journey, the impact that Instagram has had on her fight, and why she's not giving up.
R29: You continued posting regularly after being diagnosed with cancer, did it ever cross your mind to stop?
Kyrzayda Rodriguez: There were many times while I was lying in bed in pain that I thought that this was it and that I wasn't going to get up anymore. I wanted to stop everything, but then that meant I was stopping a big part of me. Just one photo represents who I am and who I would love to be if I recover.
You wrote in a post: "I decide not to wear a wig because I want people to see me as I am. A fighter." What made you come to this decision?
I knew since day one of my diagnosis. My hair was me and a wig wasn't going to replace that. I respect women who embrace wigs, but I just felt that if I was going to share this journey I needed to do it all the way. Plus, it's my way of inspiring those who are fighting with me.
Has Instagram been a major support system for you?
Absolutely. My followers have demonstrated a huge amount of kindness and compassion. I receive daily messages and prayers from people all over the world, and that brings me constant joy.
Were there any brands that stopped working with you after your diagnosis?
Brands actually did stop working with me. Unfortunately, I don't represent what they might be looking for. For example, a hair brand won't reach out due to me not having hair anymore. But, I must say, I keep getting work. Sometimes I have to decline, and I have given myself a max amount of projects per month.
How are you able to keep your energy up to create content?
I must listen to my body and rest as much as possible. But when I do get a little bit of energy, I use it to create content for my fabulous followers. On my good days, I shoot about three or four looks to have enough content for the week. Also, you can never go wrong with a good #TBT.
What advice would you have for someone going through a life battle or illness and feel like they "have to" give up on their passions?
That is not an option. Passion is the motor of life. Once you let go of your dreams, you let go of who you are. I've worked so hard to be where I'm at. I owe it to myself to keep that dream alive. My platform is serving as a vehicle to deliver inspiration to people all over the world, and to me, that is something money can't buy.