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IMPACT Julia Sora, a sophomore at St. John’s School, is working to create skin-care products for cancer patients.
When I was in fourth grade, I participated in a Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) Conference in New York. My eyes were opened to the struggles that children around the world face every day. I walked away from that experience determined to help make a difference.
Shortly after MMUN, my parents told me about a close family friend who was battling Stage III breast cancer. While undergoing chemotherapy, she faced side effects like nausea, weight loss, and dry skin. Her struggles inspired me to try to help children going through similar experiences with dry skin. I eventually came up with the idea of creating and giving body products to cancer patients. I wanted to formulate a safe, effective, and fun product that pediatric cancer patients could use. I called my business Zeal Cares.
I make and sell all-natural lip balm, and for every lip balm that is purchased, I give another to a child or young adult with cancer to help alleviate their dry skin during chemotherapy treatment. I partner with more than 30 hospitals and organizations in 18 states. In addition to giving lip balm to patients, I am beginning to fund pediatric cancer research. I created a lip balm flavor with a cancer patient in remission at MD Anderson. All of the proceeds from her lip balm – Kay’s Wild Cherry – fund research. (See it at zealcares.com.)
Funding research is especially meaningful to me because I never got to meet my aunt who died from leukemia when she was 12. Due to advancements in research, a child diagnosed with her same condition today would have a high likelihood of survival. Lip balm may not seem like a “big” idea, but even small ideas can have a big impact.
I was given feedback from a patient I was connected to by Teen Cancer America. Alec, treated for Ewing sarcoma, said, “... there are enough things to worry about in cancer treatment, so not having chapped or cracking lips added on to that is really helpful.” I have learned that something as small as a single lip balm can make a difference.
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