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‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ fan beats cancer with awesome cosplay

If you’re going to lose your hair anyway, do it Airbender style.


Aja Romano


When life hands you lemons, airbend lemonade. 

That’s the mantra of this Avatar: the Last Airbender fan who took advantage of her chemotherapy to create the best Airbender cosplay ever.

The hit animated fantasy series features a main character who, like the Tibetan monks his story is based upon, shaves his head. This was no problem for Catherine Crews, who posted on r/thelastairbender at Reddit today: 

A year ago today I found out I had cancer. Figured I’d end this year on a positive note and mark the anniversary with my favorite picture of me as the avatar!!!

Crews said that she shaved all her hair off when she realized she’d be losing it during the process of chemotherapy—but she kept the Avatar’s signature arrow birthmark. Where Aang the Avatar carries a staff, she carries a Swiffer, which sealed the look for several commenters. And despite a forehead arrow that looks like a downvote, Crews’ cosplay promptly received more than 1,700 upvotes from impressed fans. 

Though Avatar: the Last Airbender ran on Nickelodeon, it’s become a beloved favorite with older teens and adults. Its sequel, Legend of Korra, was one of the most-used Tumblr tags of 2012, and while its film adaptation was a flop, the fandom itself is still going strong. In part, this is due to the inspirational figure of Aang himself, who balances his power and fighting skill with a belief in peaceful solutions to even the most dire political conflicts. Most of all, he never gives up. It’s easy to see why Crews would want him as her, well, avatar.

Crews noted that her treatment was going well, and that she had “one more procedure left but everything’s basically all good now!”

The show’s tagline, “I believe Aang can save the world,” may not hold true for the world we live in.  But we’re pretty sure that Aang—or at least Avatar fandom—just helped Crews defeat cancer. 

Photo via Reddit

The Daily Dot