Once YouTube vloggers rack up a following of thousands, even millions of subscribers, their level of recognition alone dubs them an influencer.
Naturally, with such a large audience comes a powerful platform, which allows these influencers to make powerful statements about important, and maybe even underreported issues.
Courtney Elizabeth Warner, a beauty vlogger whose channel has received over five million views to date, did just that when she put her usual makeup tutorials on the back-burner to instead discuss her stage-three brain cancer diagnosis with her 137,000 followers.
What was once a style-focused vlog had suddenly become a kind of video diary for Warner.
The most personal entry, of course, being the live footage of her awake brain surgery on June 28, 2017.
“It's not exactly of my actual brain,” Warner disclaims during the video's intro clip:
It's more coming from my side. I did have it all filmed, and I wanted to show you guys how it was for me all the way from the beginning, all the way to the end from my perspective.
While brain and spinal cord tumors are the third most common cancers found in adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 39, they can be extremely hard to treat.
Unfortunately, there aren't any overarching solutions for these types of patients, and brain cancer treatments depend on the age of the patient, the location of the tumor, if the tumor is recurrent, the grade of the tumor, whether or not it is putting pressure on vital parts of the brain, and several other varying factors.
Broken-hearted for Warner at the initial announcement of her diagnosis, followers were naturally thrilled to see their beauty queen had made a full recovery.
Taking to social media to express their love and support, fans continue to send well wishes and uplifting words to the recovering vlogger.
When I first began skimming YouTube for beauty tutorials and the like back in high school, I honestly never expected to become so engaged in these strangers' lives.
Not only did I enjoy their channels' focal content, but I especially love the random tidbits many of them throw in about their lives outside of the YouTube dome.
Whether vloggers discuss their relationship status, their family life, or even something as simple as a funny story from earlier in their week, I've always loved getting that little window into their personal lives.
It only serves to deepen the connection between my life and theirs, despite the computer screens separating us.
It feels almost ridiculous to say that I feel a genuine connection to these people I only know from a one-sided virtual interaction, but I wholeheartedly understand, and even sympathize with, Warner's fanbase.
I guess that's just the 21st century for you?
To say the video footage of Warner's surgery is emotional is an understatement.
Following the hospital sequence of the 11-minute video, Warner takes a minute or two to express that it took a lot for her to review the footage as well.
In fact, she hadn't watched the video at all until a few weeks after the surgery.
Whether you've loyally followed along with Warner's videos for years, or have just tuned into the vlogger's inspirational journey, her platform and community represent a flawless example of how social media outlets can connect you with people you may never have known or met, on a deeply personal level.
People like Warner can show you, no matter what you're going through, you're truly never alone.