In many ways, ten-year-old Adelaide Flint looks very much her age as she gazes into a mirror, teddy bear clutched close to her chest, a beaded star necklace adorning her collarbone. However, there is also something about the image that conveys a maturity beyond her years. Perhaps it is the soulful stare, or the hand pressed up against the glass—the faint hint of a smile touching her lips. In any case, the striking self-portrait (taken with a timer, if you couldn’t already figure it out) has garnered national attention, and for good reason.

The image, entitled “Stronger”, was submitted by Adelaide to a photography contest run by the national Parent Teacher Association, and ended up taking home an “Award for Merit”, or what is equivalent to a third place prize. The young girl from Alexandria, Virginia took the photograph while in the midst of undergoing treatment for cancer. The pain of her experience is reflected in the portrait, but also a sense of hope.

In an artist statement accompanying the piece, Adelaide wrote

“Yes, this is me, strong, caring, brave and artistic.”

In a later interview conducted by Adelaide’s own mother, Stacey Flint, the elementary schooler was asked why she chose to frame the self-portrait as a reflection in a mirror. She answered, in a manner that sounds refreshingly like a real fourth grader,

“I kinda thought of it as like a magic mirror, and if I looked in it, it would like show my future, and just like a different way of like … Yeah just my future self.”

And why was the teddy bear included?

“He’s just kinda special to me, he’s been through everything with me.”

To listen to the rest of Adelaide’s interview and hear her sweet and inspiring words for yourself, click here.