Amanda Ramirez says wearing makeup during her cancer treatments helps her to feel more like herself

By Gabrielle Olya
Updated January 03, 2017 11:47 AM
Amanda Ramirez/Instagram

Social media star Amanda Ramirez has always loved makeup, so when she was diagnosed with lymphoma in August 2016, she saw no reason to halt her impressive beauty routine — even while undergoing grueling treatments.

“When you put makeup on, it enhances how you feel and makes you feel better about yourself,” Ramirez, 22, tells PEOPLE. “When I first got diagnosed I was in the hospital for an entire month, and within that time I felt like I needed my makeup with me because I started to feel bland.”

So the Compton, California resident began applying makeup every day of her hospital stay to lift her spirits.

“When you’re going through surgeries, it’s something crazy and different every day. That’s why I prefer to do my makeup through chemo — it makes me feel better,” says Remirez. “I want to feel like myself. When people get sick they cower, and it makes them feel like less of a person. Some people drown in sadness, and I don’t want to be like that.”

Before her cancer diagnosis, Ramirez had an active Instagram following and would use the platform to share messages of body empowerment and self-love. She then decided to share her cancer diagnosis with her followers, continuing to project the same powerful messages.

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“I was like, ‘This is part of who I am now, so why not just embrace it?'” she says. “I think vulnerability is a beautiful thing because when you’re vulnerable, people can relate. I wanted my Instagram to be a safe space where if they’re going through something I can uplift them.”

Ramirez now has 30.5k followers, many of whom leave encouraging comments and send messages letting her know how much her posts mean to them.

“I know that through this, I’m able to help somebody feel better,” says Ramirez, who is currently raising money to help pay for her treatments on GoFundMe. “Sometimes when I’m by myself in chemo, I’ll read comments and be a little bit happier. I get so many messages from women that have cancer telling me that seeing the way I do my makeup [inspires them].”

When Ramirez completes her treatment, she plans to use her makeup skills to help other cancer patients.

“After everything I’m going to volunteer at City of Hope,” she says. “They have this program where you can teach cancer patients how to do their makeup, so I’m really excited about that.”