LOS ANGELES (CBS) — If you ask any 4-year-old boy what they want to be when they grow up, superhero may be top of the list. Kevin Risner is no different.

His mom says, “He’s absolutely obsessed with Batman.”

Except, the “save the world” outfit he puts on inside is to protect him from the world outside. Kevin is allergic to the sun. The outfit is UV protective clothing and headgear.

Kevin’s mom Jennifer noticed a problem a year and a half ago. During the summer months he had rashes and painful blisters. She thought he was allergic to sun block so switched to brands, but it didn’t end.

Nine months ago, after just 20 minutes on the playground at daycare wearing a short-sleeved shirt, he broke out in hives.

Sunshine is the usual problem Kevin has to deal with but on the day we visited him, he was on cloud 9 because it was pouring down rain. He thought that meant regular clothes and lots of outdoor play time.
Unfortunately, the UV index was too high.

“It’s hard for kids to understand, they see him and he clearly looks different,” his mom says.

Board Certified Dermatologist David Sire says they don’t really know what causes Kevin’s condition, polymorphous light eruption.

But there are ways to try to control it – sun protective clothing, sunscreen, a technique called skin hardening where he is slowly exposed to light and medications. He says it may get better, but there is no cure. The condition is five times more common in children than adults.

For now, Kevin is happy and healthy and ready to save the world. He doesn’t see himself as different and his mom just wants him to be happy.

She says relocating to a place where there is less light is an option but hard for a single mom who already lives with family. When he is older and he doesn’t feel like a superhero wearing his protective gear, they may do it. But even with clouds and rain, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to cover up.

If you or your child gets rashes or blisters in the sun, talk to your doctor.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (11)
  1. Jasper Alpaca says:

    I am registered as a therapy alpaca with the Delta Society. Would the little guy benefit from having an alpaca visit him?

    1. Jennifer Risner says:

      Jasper, Hello there! I am Kevin’s mother. Forgive me, but what exactly is a therapy alpaca?

      1. Fehmida B says:


        I work at Incredible Features, the leading niche news website around, http://www.incrediblefeatures.com. We think Kevin’s story is both inspirational and very moving, something we focus on here at IF.

        I’d love to talk to you more about Kevin and what your own experiences are like in regards to his sun allergy. Please contact me at fehmida@incrediblefeatures.com, I look forward to hearing from you!

      2. Jasper Alpaca says:

        Alpaca’s are smaller, cuter versions of a llama. Jasper is a very gentle, unique, and friendly alpaca who has been registered by the Delta Society as a therapy alpaca. Basically, we visit hospitals, senior centers, libraries, schools, etc. and brighten the lives of those he visits. He has been used in animal assisted therapy to encourage stroke survivors to use their hands and to encourage movement. Jasper is clean and housebroken. If you and Kevin are interested please call me. Sharon (951)818-6927 or email findjasper@gmail.com

  2. Marta Phillips says:

    We have a company called SunGrubbies.com and specialize in sun protection products. We would like to help Kevin. Would it be possible for Jennifer to contact us? 888.870.1600

    1. Jennifer says:

      Just wondering if you have every heard of http://www.NFED.org? My son is 2 years old and has Rapp Hodgkins Syndrome (A form of Ectodermal Dysplasia. He has to avoid heat and sunlight because he has no sweat glands. Long story short many people, especially children associated with NFED would / could benefit from your products. CHeck it out!

  3. Marta Phillips says:

    My apologies the SunGrubbies.com phone number is 888.970.1600

  4. Jackye Roberts says:

    I had polymorphic light eruptions and PUVA treatments cured me. I’d like to share my experiences and doctor with you. I contacted CBS News about this.

  5. Gregg McKay says:

    Hello Jenniffer,
    I saw Kevins story on the news and would like to offer my companies service of installing a window film on your home windows to cut the UV Rays by 99.9 % so that you can open the shades and look out without the V Rays coming in.
    I had done this for a girl in San Diego this last year. She was not able to open her windows for the last 11 years.
    Feel free to look at my web site for her story http://www.nuvuewindowfilms.com and let me know your thoughts. I will donat my time and film free of charge to you and Kevin. Gregg @ 1888-688-8393

  6. Dominic T. says:

    If his condition has in some way enlightened the rest of us as to the real meaning beneath the glossy veneer of what we call normal life and inspired you in some way, then his condition carries with it an inherent nobility, and a supreme glory. We should all be so fortunate. You say poor Kevin? I say poor us.

    We can all help raise awareness and acceptance for this condition. Refer as many people you know to this site here and on YouTube. Give him as many views as possible once it’s a top video many others will view it and spread it.

    Check out this video on YouTube:

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