Alyssa is a spunky girl who loves to dance and be silly. In 2009, when she was 6 years old, she had a pre-cancerous growth removed from her thigh. In May of 2012, Alyssa’s parents, Angela and Remco, discovered a spot on her forearm that looked strange. After the growth was removed at a local children’s hospital, a biopsy revealed Alyssa suffered from melanoma, a skin cancer more often associated with adults.
Alyssa’s family turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where her treatment included additional surgeries to remove the melanoma and some of her lymph nodes. Alyssa has finished treatment and now visits St. Jude for regular checkups. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since it opened more than 50 years ago.
Without the lifesaving research and care St. Jude provides every day, my nephew and Alyssa — and countless others — would not be here today.
As it turns out, Alyssa is not the only St. Jude patient in her family. Her cousin, Tyler, recently finished treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “Our family is often asked to put into words what St. Jude means to us,” Angela said. “It’s almost impossible. Without the lifesaving research and care St. Jude provides every day, my nephew and Alyssa — and countless others — would not be here today.”
Recently, Alyssa was beyond thrilled to learn that during this year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic, a St. Jude plane will be named after her. “She’s so excited,” Angela said. “It’s such an honor.” Each year, a St. Jude patient who is the child of a FedEx employee is chosen to have a plane named after them. Alyssa’s dad works for FedEx, and the impact St. Jude has on the community — and his family — has not been lost on him.
“I’m proud to work for a company that cares about their employees and treats them like family,” Remco said. “Their support of St. Jude is amazing, and it makes me proud to work there.”