A 22-year-old Edmonton social media fashion influencer is using her talent to give back to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Megan Nespliak was diagnosed in March 2022 with stage 4 stomach cancer. In April, she was given one year to live.
“Stomach cancer is very rare in young people so they were very surprised to find it, and the treatment options are not great,” Nespliak said Wednesday.
With a passion for fashion, the young woman has been a social media influencer for years. When she received her diagnosis, she wanted to carry on that journey.
“I really like to spread positivity and just fun, colourful fashion,” she explained. “When I was diagnosed, it just seemed natural to me to share my journey on social media and pretty much just to bring awareness to a rare disease and also just educate people.
“I’ve really created a community of people that value the positivity aspect of it, but also that I was still trying to live my life to the fullest.”
Her biggest goal when she was diagnosed was to go to New York for fashion week, which runs Sept. 9-14. Unfortunately, due to her declining health, she won’t be able to make the trip. Instead of getting down about it, Nespliak created her own fashion week — Megan Fashion Week — so she could still experience some of what she would have in the Big Apple.
Nespliak created 22 fashion themes. Throughout the month of September, she is asking people to dress up in the themes, share the pictures on social media and donate to the Canadian Cancer Society. The fundraiser has only been live for six days and already it’s raised nearly $100,000.
“I’m very, very proud of that and I’m happy that’s a legacy that I get to leave behind. And it will hopefully be an event that people can easily replicate and continue on in the future,” Nespliak said.
The young woman’s parents are extremely proud of their daughter for all that she’s achieved and encourage others to take part in the fundraiser.
“We’re happy because stomach cancer does not get a lot of funding and they say it’s rare, but we have had so many young people reach out to Megan and myself saying that they have been diagnosed with it as well,” Tammy Nespliak said.
“We’d just like more research to go towards this so maybe there can be earlier detection and give some people some hope that there’s some better options.”