Be advised: This article contains a graphic image, read on with care.
On May 30, 2013, Charity Sade Bryan was diagnosed with stage 3C inflammatory breast cancer — a rare and advanced diagnosis. The twenty-seven year old also carries a genetic mutation that significantly raises the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Doctors told her only 38 percent of women with her diagnosis survive more than five years.
"Those aren't very pretty numbers," Charity said in a phone interview.
"It's a play on words, like, 'see Sade be,'" Charity said about her username.
Charity is allowing her 70 followers an opportunity to see intimate portraits of herself as she goes through a brutal medical process to keep her alive.
"While I was in the hospital the cancer ate a hole in my breast and I didn't show anyone, I wouldn't let my family see, I wouldn't let my mother see, I wouldn't let the person I was being intimate with see because it was difficult for me to literally watch my breasts die before my eyes," Charity said.
Initially Charity didn't share her diagnosis with many people but after she shaved her head she felt more liberated and starting sharing pictures of her cancer treatment on Instagram.
Charity shared the picture below during breast cancer awareness month.
"I wanted to show people this is what breast cancer can do, this is what it can look like, it's not just a lump, it's hurtful, it's ugly and it's painful," Charity said.
Charity is a part of a growing movement of young people living with cancer that are sharing their stories on Instagram. They have started communities around hashtags like #chemokid, #teencancer and #fuckcancer.
"Since I have a rare cancer I couldn’t find anyone my age going through the same thing, even literature there really is nothing out there."
While there many not be very many books about young people living with cancer, Charity and her peers are filling that void with their images and short updates.
"Face, body, werk! Takin the boobs out for their last saturday ever," Charity wrote in a caption for a photo days before both her breasts were removed.
Charity has worked through her entire treatment. She works an overnight administrative job and sees her doctors during the day. Her employer does not offer health insurance but she was lucky enough to qualify for a medical insurance program D.C. offers.
In between deeply personal images of Charity are light hearted posts that show the high and lows of living with cancer. Charity posted the image below on Halloween. She dressed up as Uncle Fester, the bald character from the television series "The Addams Family."
Charity finished her chemo two months ago. She celebrated on Instagram with a video.
It's been four weeks since Charity underwent her bilateral non-skin non-nipple-sparing mastectomy. She says she still has not fully accepted that her breasts were removed.
She had her first consultation with a radiation oncologist in December. She will continue to update her Instagram and allow her followers to see Sade be.