(WTXF) - A 25-year-old woman battling cancer has defied all odds and landed a modeling contract with a major modeling agency.
Dayna Christison is from Warwick, New York.
According to Buzzfeed, when she was 22, she was diagnosed with Nodular Sclerosis Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Initially, doctors told her the cancer was stage two, but later she learned that it was likely stage four.
"I was just coming out of graduation and trying to figure out my next step in life," Christison told BuzzFeed News.
For the last three years, Christison has been battling the disease, going through chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, and now a clinical trial.
However, in addition to fighting cancer, she is doing something amazing. She began a modeling career and is working with global modeling agency Major Models.
She has walked in six shows and starred in ads for companies such as Urban Outfitters.
Christison said that after she underwent her second stem cell transplant she decided to model.
Her friend, a photographer, asked to take photos of her for his portfolio.
"I agreed and from there, when he started posting the photos I got a bunch of photographers that were really interested in working with me," she said. "Mind you, I was straight bald at this point."
Afterwards, she went to a casting call and has been working with Major Models since the summer.
Her reaction after walking in the shows: "It was really surreal."
According to Buzzfeed, despite having done some modeling here and there before, Christison didn't become interested in it until after she was diagnosed.
She said that after losing her hair, she couldn't find many good role models of other women with bald heads in the media.
Christison said that she refused to wear a wig or scarf, saying, "…that's how I looked and I didn't want to hide that because of what other people thought."
"It was hard sometimes. I would get a lot of anxiety walking into places and felt weird when people would ask me about it."
However, when she went out with a bald head, other women battling cancer would tell her she was brave for having the confidence to embrace her new look.
"It was one of the most amazing feelings I've ever had to have someone say that I helped them feel more confident because of my confidence," she said. "I decided then that I needed to do this to help anyone I can feel even a little bit more secure in such an insecure time in their lives."
Now, she is hoping to inspire other people battling cancer and others through modeling.
Christison said she believes that coming up against difficulties shouldn't keep you from living and reaching for your dreams.
"I feel like everyone, at some point, has obstacles that they're trying to overcome, it's just a part of life," she said. "There's always going to be something pushing you back. It's how you decide to react to those obstacles and how you push through them that makes you achieve the things that you really want to get out of life."
Though she is unsure of what she wants to do next, Christison is really enjoying getting to inspire others through working in the fashion industry.
"I know that I want to help and inspire others and I know that I want to do it in my own way," she said.