Alyssa's Story

“She touched her family with her smile, she touches many with her legacy.”

Alyssa was a beautiful and very talented girl who was diagnosed with leukemia shortly after her fourth birthday in 1996. After being diagnosed, Alyssa underwent four years of chemotherapy.

Alyssa was a student at Boulder Creek Elementary School, starting there while in YMCA preschool and continuing until three weeks before her death. Although Alyssa missed her third grade year after relapsing in August 2000 and undergoing two bone marrow transplants, she returned briefly during her fourth grade year to see her very special friends.

The courage she showed touched many lives and she will be greatly missed by so many dear friends, family members and those she touched in the medical profession. Alyssa will be especially missed by her friends at Boulder Creek School.

After Alyssa relapsed, our lives were in turmoil.  We spent over five months of Alyssa’s last fourteen months in the hospital. Most of this time was in San Francisco, far away from our family and friends. It was there that the deepest friendships formed with doctors, nurses, hospital staff and most importantly families of other seriously ill children.

Through the friendships with other families, we learned there was a tremendous need to help families with seriously ill children. Surviving as a family is difficult enough; and combined with serious illness, months of separation, stress, and in many cases, a family member giving up his/her job to be caregiver and reducing the income to half can be an unbearable burden. Often these families feel so lost.

The strength Alyssa showed during the last year of her life has been the foundation of our family’s strength to form The Alyssa Araiza Wings of Angels Organization in her honor, and to help families of other seriously ill children.

Photos of Alyssa

Click on an image below to view a larger photo of Alyssa. Note to Internet Explorer users: you may need to allow "blocked content" to view the images properly.

The Power of Music

Sissy's Song by Country Artist Alan Jackson is a powerful tribute of a life lost too soon and going to heaven on the "wings of angels," much like Alyssa's.

Visit Alyssa's Music to listen to songs that were meaningful to Alyssa during her treatment.