Alyssa d .
Hospital: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
In 2012, at just 9 years old, Alyssa was diagnosed with melanoma (skin cancer) which is rare in children. She was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. After three surgeries and numerous tests and scans, oncologists determined that the cancer had not reached her organs. During treatment, many other issues were found including scoliosis, cervical stenosis and two heart irregularities. But Alyssa remained strong and high-spirited throughout numerous medical tests, repeat visits to nine different specialists and frequent school absences.
Although small in stature, Alyssa is big in heart and compassion. Alyssa’s 6-year-old cousin was recently diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and was referred to St. Jude; Alyssa immediately stepped up to help coach him through his cancer journey. One day, she hopes to be a child life specialist at St. Jude. Her medical journey is far from over, but because of the doctors, researchers and staff at St. Jude, she is on the right path.