After Losing Her Leg to Cancer, This Woman Completely Reinvented Her Life

Badass Women celebrates women who show up, speak up, and get things done.

Being diagnosed with bone cancer at any age can be devastating. But model and advocate Mama Cāx hasn’t let cancer, or the amputation of her right leg and part of her pelvic bone, stop her from living the life she always wanted. “The only way to cope [was to] start living the life that would make me comfortable, that I always dreamt of. That’s when I created Mama Cāx,” Cāx tells InStyle.

“Probably my greatest asset is being able to adapt to any situation and environment,” Cāx says. “You can’t control what happens, but you can control how you move forward and how you use your circumstance or your story to help and empower other people.”

To hear more about Cāx’s journey, her favorite ways to spend her free time (she enjoys rock climbing), and where she sees the fashion industry going in terms of inclusion, watch the video above and read the excerpts below.

BAW Mama Cax - Lead - 1

Never giving up: “Giving up isn’t something I do,” Cāx says, summing up her fighting spirit. But it wasn’t always easy for the model, who was diagnosed at age 14. “Being so young, you’re not thinking about the fact that you went through something so traumatic and you should be grateful,” she says. “It’s more so [thinking] now I’m not looking like every other girl.”

Rock star: While looking for an exercise that would challenge her, Cāx found rock climbing. “It’s a way for me to de-stress and not think about the craziness of New Yok City [where she lives] and to challenge myself.”

Personal goals: The advocate wants young girls who face bullying and exclusion to know that they are not alone. “Not everyone comes in the same size or the same skin tone and we all deserve to be embraced for how we look,” she says.

Support system: Friend and fellow model Seynabou Cisse, also featured in the video above, sat down with Cāx to discuss the importance of inclusion. “I think if inclusion did not exist I would not have a job,” Cisse says. “I would not be doing what I’m doing. You [to Cāx] would not be doing what you’re doing. You wouldn’t touch so many people’s lives.”

Cāx notes that the support she received from friends like Cisse and her fans across the globe helps keep her motivated. “It’s just already so much pressure being a woman,” Cāx says. “It’s important that we support each other. “

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