Mama Cax, who’s real name is Cacsmy Brutus, died on Friday morning. The Haitian-American blogger, advocate, motivational speaker and model.
The devastating news was announced via the model’s official Instagram page on December 20. The message read, “It is with deep regret and immense sadness that we announce the passing of Cacsmy Brutus (Mama Cax). Mama Cax spent the past week in the hospital, and unfortunately, on Monday December 15, she left this world.”
The announcement continued on, “To say Cax was a fighter would be an understatement. As a cancer survivor, she had grown accustomed to taking on life’s several challenges head on and successfully. It is with that same grit (fervor) that she fought her last days on Earth.”
Cax was 14 years old she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma that metastasized to her lung. She told The Huffington Post in 2015, “Osteosarcoma is common in teen boys and although they don’t know the cause of it, there is a huge correlation between rapid bone growth and this type of cancer. At age 16 I had a hip replacement attempting to get rid of the affected bone. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful so I ended up getting some of my right hip removed — along with my right leg.”
A week prior, the influencer shared that she was struggling with some health issues while on a shoot in London. Cax said she was suffering from “severe abdominal pain,” and after her issues were originally dismissed as mere inflammation, the next day, she took an ambulance went to the emergency room due to the nagging pain. Cax was diagnosed with several blood clots in her leg, thigh and abdomen.
“Unfortunately flying puts me at risk of a pulmonary embolism therefore I’m stuck across the pond until after Christmas,” Cax shared.
Born in New to Haitian parents, she didn’t let her illness or disability keep her from pursuing a career in modeling. She said,
“Here I was at 16 years old, covered in scars and missing a limb. I did not feel pretty. In the last couple of years, I’ve been able to step away from my judgmental self and observe how my loved ones see me. For them, my scars represented the battles I won and my prosthetic has made me this super cool cyborg chick. But don’t get me wrong, I have bad days. Some days I wake up and feel so discouraged and ask the universe why did this have to happen to me. Some days I get fed up with the stares and the questions. Ultimately, I’m able to feel pretty and be confident because I surround myself with people who make me feel as such. No one will ever be able to take these feelings away from me.
1. Cax Was Named As One of Glamour’s Women of The Year 2019
As a major influencer, Cax had 185K followers on Instagram, a growing lifestyle brand, campaigns for Olay and Tommy Hilfiger, she earned the coveted title as one of the magazine’s “Women of the Year” in August.
In addition to walking the runway in New York’s Fashion Week, Cax was a strong advocate for disabled models. “I understand I might not be what a brand is looking for, but to me I often want to know, ‘why?'” told Glamour. While progress has been made, Cax said there’s still so much room for improvement.
“Even when I look at all-black spaces, they lack that diversity as well,” she said. “They do try to include different kinds of people within the black community, but disability is often a missing piece. I’m embraced there because of my blackness, I want to also be embraced there because of my disability.”
2. Cax Was Also A Rock-Climber & Hand-Cycled The NYC Marathon
Cax also got into rock climbing, which she explained was possible due to the strength of her arms. “I love rock climbing because it not only requires physical strength but also critical thinking,” Cax explained. “You have to think a couple of moves ahead before making a move. I like to challenge myself physically. I’ve always wanted to rock climb so I spent a year practicing indoors. When I travelled to Cambodia two years ago I had the privilege of rock climbing outdoors with an amazing group of climbers. It was difficult but definitely not impossible.”
In November, she reached another life goal of hers: finish the New York City Marathon. She handcycled 26.2 miles through the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Her goal was to finish in 2.5 hours, though she crossed the finish line in 3:31:37. “I’m obviously proud that I was able to finish it, but if I were to do it again, my goal would be to do it in a shorter amount of time,” she told Pop Sugar.
3. How Mama Cax Became a Force In The Modeling World
After a hemipelvectomy amputation was performed on her right leg, a procedure that meant she would require a prosthetic leg and crutches, “I broke down crying,” she told Glamour magazine in August.
“I probably spent one or two weeks without looking at my body whatsoever. That sort of disgust lingered and lasted throughout my early years in college. Feeling beautiful or being in a space where I would feel beautiful was not at all on my radar. It wasn’t a priority because I figured I could never get there.”
At first, Cax saw fashion as a way to escape her reality. “I fell in love with fashion because I realized I looked pretty when I covered everything up,” she said. In 2017, she landed her first campaign for Wet ‘n’ Wild, and was then signed with Jag models. “It was so surreal knowing there can be a space for me in beauty,” Cax said. “From that point on, I knew I had an ability to break certain barriers.”
4. President Obama Invited Her To The White House For Their First Ever Runway Show
On September 15, 2016, she was invited to the White House to walk in the first ever White House Fashion show. The event was a celebration of inclusive design, assistive technology, and prosthetics by the White House Office of Science and Technology. Cax, who also holds a B.A & M.A in International Studies, documented the experience on her blog.
Of the memorable experience at “Design For All” she wrote, “The event featured designers and models who have inspired innovative designs from around the United States. With Bionic arms, earpiece technology for hearing aid, clothes to accommodate little people, scoliosis braces & more…. We did a run of show and met the the other models,” which included Jillian Mercado, who is an advocate/model represented by IMG models/wheelchair user, and has been featured on major campaigns such as Diesel, Nordstrom and Beyonce’s Online store. Panelists for the show included Nike and Kathy D. Woods, founder of a clothing brand that makes clothes for little people.
5.Condolences For Mama Cax Poured In On Twitter
Mama Cax was inspiring for so many reasons, and the fashion trailblazer’s fans mourned her loss on Friday. People on Twitter shared their beautiful sentiments to Cax, and sent well wishes to her loved ones. Rihanna tweeted, “A queen. A force. A powerhouse beauty that brought her strength to the
@savagexfenty stage this year inspiring so many across the globe. Rest In Power sis.”