2011 Sunshine Kids SpokesKids
Each year a young cancer patient is selected to represent kids with cancer everywhere.
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Steven Contreras   STEVEN CONTRERAS
2011 Sunshine Kids National SpokesKid
 
  In 2009, I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in his left ankle. It was my love for sports that helped us detect the otherwise unknown tumor. After multiple injuries during baseball and football seasons and lots of tests, doctors informed me that it was a cancerous bone tumor and I was admitted to UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital. Nine months of intensive chemotherapy and surgery for amputation was necessary for survival. Shortly after my surgery healed, one of our wonderful nurses told me about the Sunshine Kids Foundation and with the approval of my doctors, I was invited to go on the “The Mid-Summer Night’s Dream” in Long Beach, California.

It was an experience I will never forget! This Foundation has helped me realized that there are people out there who really care about what kids with cancer are going through. They provide an outlet for children who are fighting cancer, so they can get together, draw strength to cope with their treatment and hope to keep fighting the fight. We realize that we are NOT in this alone!

When I found out that I was chosen to be one of the 2011 National Sunshine Kids Foundation Spokeskids, I was beside myself. It was a great feeling, a true honor. I now have a chance to make a difference and to be a part of something big.

Steven, is in remission, wears prosthesis, and is even sprinting with his new leg. He is currently a Junior at Rolling Hills Prep High School in Palos Verdes, California. He participates in the annual “Biking for America” 30-mile charity ride, plays varsity baseball, varsity football and has been featured in several local newspapers including an article in the U.S.A. Paralympics News.
     
     
Shaquile Davis   SHAQUILE DAVIS
2011 Sunshine Kids National SpokesKid
 
  The Sunshine Kids was first introduced to me by my wonderful social worker. My first trip with the Sunshine Kids was on the Washington, D.C. Adventure in May 2010. It was just amazing to be able to bond with other cancer survivors that know what you’ve actually been through. All of the staff and volunteers were very nice. Most of the things we did were actually first time experiences!

In June 2008, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. This is a cancer of the blood. After suffering fevers and cold chills, my father took me to the Doctor. During that whole process, doctors told me that I was looking so much better than the doctor ever expected! I just thank God for keeping me and being with me through this whole thing. Now, I am in maintenance and cancer free! I attend school, but I still attend a hospital visit for chemo once a month.

When my mother texted me and told me “I am so proud of you” I didn’t know what she was talking about. But when I got home, and she told me what she was talking about, I was so excited! My father told me that my God would open up so many doors for me...This is one great start!
     
     
Sammy Loch   SAMMY LOCH
2011 Sunshine Kids National SpokesKid
 
  My first experience with the Sunshine Kids was in November 2010 when I was invited to attend the Florida Fun-N-Sun trip in Orlando, Florida. My experience in Orlando was indescribable. The staff and volunteers were extraordinary and made sure that everyone had a fantastic time. The Sunshine Kids foundation did what they do best, made cancer go away and replaced it with fun. The Orlando trip was the first time I felt truly independent since my diagnosis in October 2009.

In the fall of 2009 I had been having severe migraines and nausea. After migraine treatment did not work, my doctor ordered an MRI. The scan revealed a mass on my brain. On October 29, 2009, after undergoing surgery to remove the tumor, I was diagnosed with high risk medulloblastoma. My treatment included 30 rounds of daily radiation with chemo followed by chemo every four weeks for six months. I finished cancer treatment in August 2010 and have been cancer free ever since. I know for certain that my positive attitude and the support of many was a huge factor in the outcome of my treatment.

The Sunshine Kids foundation has been a positive influence on my life. Being able to spend time with people who have had similar experiences to mine is invaluable. The best part of any Sunshine Kids event is that everybody feels special and nobody feels different. That is why I am so deeply honored to have been chosen to represent this wonderful foundation as a spokeskid.

     
     
Kaite Lynch   KATIE LYNCH
2011 Sunshine Kids National SpokesKid
 
  I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on September 23rd, 2008. This was the start of a long, tough journey involving chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplants. Over the course of the next 2 1/2 years, I was in remission twice but my cancer returned after treatment stopped.

My Riley Hospital social worker asked if I wanted to go on a Sunshine Kids trip to New York City in July of 2009. A trip to New York was high on my list of places to visit. The trip was fantastic and one of the best I’ve ever been on. I made so many friends that I talked with regularly and had so much fun with the kids and chaperones. I enjoyed my time with other Sunshine Kids because cancer was not an issue when we were all together. It’s one of the rare times that kids with cancer get to forget they are different.

I was very involved in St. Baldrick’s, bone marrow drives, blood drives, dance marathons, and events that helped Riley Hospital or kids with cancer. The Sunshine Kids was one of my favorite groups though because I got to meet so many kids like me.

When I was asked to be a 2011 National Spokeskid, I was so thrilled and excited. This was a chance for me to get more involved. The 2011 Spokeskids were such a close group in San Diego in March 2011. We completely enjoyed each other, had so much fun, and were so lucky to be chosen to represent such a great foundation.

Katie returned to Riley Hospital for a second stem cell transplant in May 2011.

Katie passed away May 20, 2011 while recovering from her second stem cell transplant. Her funeral was attended by 4000 people at her high school, a testament to how many people she touched.
     
     
Manraj Sidhu   MANRAJ SIDHU
2011 Sunshine Kids National SpokesKid
 
  My first experience with the Sunshine Kids was the Texas Hills County Adventure in June of 2010. To say this trip was extraordinary would be an understatement. Everyone from the volunteers to the organizers were fantastic and there was a comforting feeling participating in the incredible activities with people who had similar experiences with you. Everyone was kind and joyous and I can’t help but to feel lucky that I could be part of such an adventure. When I was told I was chosen as a SpokesKid for the Sunshine Kids I was very excited! I couldn’t wait to be a part of this amazing organization again. I can still remember my heart going thump…thump…THUMP When I heard the news!

In September 2009 I was diagnosed with stage 4 Burkitt’s Lymphoma. I spent my entire grade 11 high school year at British Columbia Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. Thankfully the doctors and staff could not have been more wonderful. I have undergone 8 rounds of intensive chemotherapy and have been free of disease for close to a year now.

I am currently finishing my final year of high school and plan to attend the University of British Columbia to study sciences and law. I’m back to my ordinary life- doing homework, hanging out with friends, watching movies and playing videogames.

The Sunshine Kid’s is truly a fantastic organization. It does so many amazing things to children who really need a relaxing and exciting adventure. In Texas, I did so many things that I’ve always wanted to do like canoeing, tubing and zip-lining. Everyone had an amazing time and we all left with memories that will last a lifetime. To anyone that has the chance, I would recommend without hesitation being a part of this astounding organization.

     
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