11 Jun Alyssa – 11 years old
In 2012, a small red mole on Alyssa’s arm was the start of her journey with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Although this type of cancer is still uncommon in children, it is growing rapidly. St. Jude doctors have seen more than their fair share of cases. They are world-renowned experts in childhood cancer, and melanoma is no exception.
Not only are the doctors treating cancer and saving children’s lives, but the research at St. Jude will continue to save lives for years to come. Like so many childhood cancers, the origin of pediatric melanoma is still unknown. Alyssa didn’t tan outside or in a tanning bed. Through genomic research, St. Jude will find the answers. But know that sun exposure is still a factor and a risk—for all kids.
Alyssa is now an advocate for melanoma research and sun safety. She enlists family and friends to help her remember to wear her hat, apply sunscreen and keep her arms and legs covered. She wears sunscreen head to toe—even underneath her clothing and on cloudy days. She knows it’s a habit she must continue for the rest of her life, rain or shine.
Alyssa is much older and wiser now because of her experience with cancer. She has experienced things that most hope to never have to deal with or understand. In 2013 when her younger cousin Tyler was diagnosed with leukemia, Alyssa stepped in to help him with his journey. Now she talks about one day becoming a Child Life Specialist at St. Jude so she can continue to help other kids.