ORANGE (CBSLA.com) — A 12-year-old cancer survivor and ultra-marathoner have teamed up to help inspire young patients.
They took pictures, they bought gifts. It was all to uplift children who are battling cancer at Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
CBS2’s Michele Gile was there.
“I used to have a lot of hair, too” said one young patient.
12-year-old Leah Valles, a melanoma survivor, came to inspire the young people and spread a message of safety.
She wore a shirt that said “Sunblock Stinks But Cancer Stinks More!”
Valles battled stage 3 melanoma when she was just 8 years old. She wanted the world to know she always has her sunblock on. And with summer upon us, all people need to be vigilant about protecting themselves.
Dr. Leonard Sender treated Leah’s cancer.
“Skin cancer is actually a massive problem in this country and it’s increasing,” he said, “and melanoma, which is the most dangerous form is increasing. When do people start getting it? When do they damage their skin? They damage their skin as kids and as teenagers.”
Leah teamed up with runner Roy Wiegand. He started a 100-mile run Friday — from CHOC — to help support kids with cancer.
He’s dedicating each step to the memory of Christopher Wilke, a 12-year-old boy — the son of a friend — who lost his battle with cancer in 2014.
“I’m going to think about Christopher,” Wiegand said, “and all those other kids I just got to meet upstairs and their families and what they’re going through. And if I get a uncomfortable or a little tired, those kinds of thoughts really put this in perspective. I’m out here and I’m healthy and I am able to do something like this.”
Wiegand will run for the next 24 hours, only to stop for nutrition and bathroom breaks.
His goal is to reach McCambridge Park in Burbank at noon July 4.
For more about Valles’ SkinCancerStinks.org, click here.