Inspired by family tragedy, a teenager uses her voice in the fight against skin cancer to speak up against tanning and raise funds to support The Skin Cancer Foundation.
Alexis Schweitzer knows all too well that skin cancer is deadly and devastating. Her grandfather lost his battle with melanoma before she was born, robbing Alexis of the opportunity to ever know him.
She doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else.
“Skin cancer kills so many people,” she explained. “I want to honor my grandfather and raise awareness so that no one else loses their own lives or loses their loved ones. Skin cancer is so preventable. And if you take care of yourself, you can really help yourself and others.”
Giving Back on #GivingTuesday
In November 2020, Alexis joined #GivingTuesdaySpark, a new youth movement that inspires young people to support the causes they care about most. She launched an Instagram fundraiser benefiting The Skin Cancer Foundation, with impressive results.
Alexis acknowledged that asking for donations took her out of her comfort zone. But at the same time, the experience was rewarding. “It was the first time I’ve ever gotten involved in anything like this and it felt great knowing I was helping such a good cause,” she said. “At the end of the day, I knew that if I didn’t speak up and ask for donations, who would?”
Raising Funds for Skin Cancer Awareness Month
With one successful campaign under her belt, Alexis set her sights even higher. In May 2021, she created a fundraising page on the Foundation’s website — the very first youth initiative supporting The Skin Cancer Foundation Gala, a major fundraiser that takes place during Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
Alexis knocked it out of the park once again, far surpassing her fundraising goal and raising thousands of dollars to support the Foundation’s programs. For Alexis, seeing the collective generosity of friends, family and others was extremely gratifying.
“It felt good to know that people care, especially people my age, who don’t usually pay attention to things like this. They did pay attention and they donated. It was really meaningful for me.”
The Power of Social Media
Alexis expertly harnessed the power of social media to get results. “I found social media to be really helpful in getting the attention of not only people I directly know, but friends of my family as well,” she said.
In fact, her anti-tanning message was shared in an Instagram video by Taye Diggs, a client of her father’s and star of All American, a television show very popular with young people.
Alexis hopes that with her persistence and a little star power, the message will sink in. “I think people hear me when I say that tanning is dangerous. But unless they experience something tragic themselves, or experience someone they know suffering from it, they don’t really understand,” she explained. “And because tanning is important to some people, I suggest other options, such as self-tanners and make up because, again, they are just better, safer alternatives.”
A Family Affair
Alexis is not the first person in her family to become personally involved with the Foundation. Her parents, Adam and Stephanie are longtime donors who rally support for our work each year. And while they have instilled the importance of giving back in the heart of their daughter, the initiative is all Alexis.
According to Alexis, so long as people continue to be affected by skin cancer, her work is not over.
“Skin cancer is scary. It has affected my life personally,” she explained. “However, it is very preventable, so at the same time, I have hope. I will definitely be sharing the message again because I hope that people will listen, and I want to keep making a difference.”