sunrays of hope

Sun Angels believes it’s important for all children to receive proper sun protection education at an early age. The goal of our Sunrays of Hope program is to bring awareness about sun safety and provide support and resources for those who share the same mission. 

Meet 11-year-old Alyssa, a melanoma survivor

We will be donating 10 percent of all sales during the month of May in recognition of Skin Cancer Awareness month to Alyssa de Jong’s charity of choice. Alyssa, a pediatric melanoma survivor, is helping further pediatric melanoma education and research by raising funds for this alarmingly growing form of cancer. She is compiling her own sun safety tips with the goal of writing a book.  She is also helping to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to further their research into this rare but alarmingly growing form of cancer. In 2012, at just 9 years old, Alyssa was diagnosed with stage IIIa melanoma, or skin cancer, which is on the rise in children. She was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It started after noticing a couple of spots that had grown since she started growth hormones since she is also short stature.  Many spots were checked and okayed, but one of the spots “looked suspicious,” and so they did a biopsy. It was a small red, raised area on her left forearm. A few weeks later, the dermatologist called to say it was melanoma. St. Jude treated Alyssa and she underwent several surgeries to remove all of the cancerous cells.  St. Jude not only treated the cancer, but helped uncover the root of all of her other medical issues that had been with her since birth including seizures, scoliosis, two heart conditions and other issues. They found Alyssa has a micro deletion chromosome disorder called Koolen de Vries syndrome. Alyssa is followed closely now by her oncologist and dermatologist as well as numerous other specialists.  But the word cancer is now a part of our life and we cannot forget it.  We don't live in fear, but not a day goes by when we don't think about it. Alyssa now owns a huge collection of hats that she wears every time she is outside. Every morning before she gets dressed she must put on sunscreen. She takes a bag with her to school for recess that contains sunscreen, hat and sleeves for her arm. Now Alyssa’s goal is to help her friends understand sun safety.  Sun is good, but sunburn is bad.  Every expert we talked to has told us that sunburns as a child can increase your chance of getting skin cancer as an adult.  And melanoma is starting to hit younger ages more than ever before.  I know it adds a few minutes into your already busy schedule, but the moments spent protecting your children’s skin will be worth it in the long run, I promise. You can read more about Alyssa and her journey on her blog at or www
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is on the forefront of childhood cancers.  Malignant melanoma is no exception.  Scientists are working with doctors to discover the best treatment for this rare pediatric cancer.  Treatment data that is available now has been taken from adult studies.  St. Jude is studying this disease in children to help formulate the best treatment protocol for their pediatric patients.  Ongoing clinical trials is crucial to discovering the data they need.  As is researching how the melanoma grows and develops by studying the genetic make-up of melanoma.  You can learn more about St. Jude’s trials and research studies as well as early melanoma detection signs in a recently published article by St. Jude.   More than Skin Deep article from Promise Magazine.



Meet 7-year-old Grace, a melanoma survivor

Let’s help Grace raise money so she can continue to purchase books and supplies for her sun safety education programs! Sun Angels is proud to support Grace’s Green Wagon by donating 10% of its sales to Grace during the month of July.

Grace's Green Wagon

Grace was diagnosed with Stage IIIB melanoma when she was just four years old. Little is known about “why” or “how” pediatric melanoma happens, but every year approximately 500 cases are diagnosed, with 100 of those being in advanced stages.

Grace had never even had a sunburn. It was when her mom discovered a fast-growing bump on her arm that she took her to a dermatologist, even though everyone kept telling her it was just a wart.

Since being diagnosed, Grace has been through multiple surgeries and has completed a year in treatment at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Center. She has battled many side effects from her treatment and continues to work hard to rebuild her strength and repair some of the damage. She is monitored by her team at MD Anderson and will continue so for the rest of her life.

Grace’s Green Wagon was launched in 2010 when Grace was first diagnosed with melanoma. Her father’s employer, Gilsbar Inc., generously opened an account to help raise funds for Grace’s medical treatment and travel expenses.

Since then the mission of Grace’s Green Wagon has broadened from a personal need for assistance to something much bigger: to create awareness and fulfill a dream of funding research, which will hopefully one day find a cure for melanoma.

Let’s help Grace raise money so she can continue to purchase books and supplies for her sun safety education programs! Sun Angels is proud to support Grace’s Green Wagon by donating 10% of its sales to Grace during the month of July.