As we know, all too well, heroes come in all sizes.
Rayanna was a happy little three year old when she was diagnosed with ALL. She won that battle and won the battle three years later with MDS. The MDS battle was won with the help of her Uncle Bryan who was the perfect match for her stem cell transplant. Sadly, while Rayanna's immune system was suppressed to win a third battle (Graft Versus Host Disease), a life threatening fungus attacked her body and stole her from us. Life without Rayanna's battles is the tiniest of memories and yet the tiniest part of who Rayanna is in our memory. She was a beautiful giggly little girl filled with compassion for everyone around her, always putting the needs and feelings of everyone before her. She, like so many others facing childhood cancer, did not allow cancer to define who she was. She loved living and everyone and everything around her. Her love of animals showed with all of her pets; a horse, a donkey, two cats, a rabbit and a dog. She was going to be a veterinarian when she grew up. Hope for a normal future was never a question mark. She fought the bravest of battles and never asked "why."
Through research funded by the St. Baldrick's Foundation and "Rays of HOPE" hero fund it is our greatest wish that someday question marks about the future of a child diagnosed with childhood cancer will no longer exist. In life Rayanna's spirit and energy touched the lives of many. In death her legacy and hero fund have the potential to reach so many more!
Donations made to Rays of Hope have generously supported a St. Baldrick's Scholar grant to Reshmi Parameswaran Ph.D., a St. Baldrick's Fellows Grant for Melissa Mavers M.D., Ph.D., and a St. Baldrick's Research Grant for Jaebok Choi, M.D.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is guided by a Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of leading experts in the childhood cancer community, to ensure that every dollar makes the greatest impact for kids with cancer.
These people make us smile - they’re the doers and money-raisers on behalf of Rays of Hope. They’re shaving their heads, hosting events, starting fundraisers and more to make childhood cancer research possible.
Start your own St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event to raise money on behalf of our Hero Fund! You’ll be paired with a staff member who will walk you through every step of the process, and you’ll have fun knowing you’re doing a great thing for kids with cancer.
Register to shave your head and raise money for our Hero Fund at any St. Baldrick’s event happening around the world! Not finding an event near you? Register as a virtual shavee and shave your head anytime, anywhere.