Sunscreen – Is it Safe?

With summer in full swing, it is important to remember each sunscreen is different. There are many brands, types and ingredients; and with something that we put on much of our skin, we should all be aware of the best ones to use and ones to avoid.

Sunscreen’s active ingredients may be minerals, chemical filters or even both. So, which one is the best?

While they each have their own pros and cons, mineral based sunscreens use titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These active ingredients go onto the skin but do not absorb completely into your blood stream. Mineral sunscreens provide the best protection as they do not break down in the sun and is a great protection from UVA rays.

The second group of sunscreens use a chemical filter as the active ingredient and contain 2 or more of oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene, and so on. These ingredients are absorbed into the skin with measured amounts found in your blood stream, breast milk and urine.  CDC data suggests that the ingredients in the chemical filters can also affect hormones. Oxybenzone exposure has been found to lower testosterone levels in adolescent boys. It is also known to shorten pregnancies of male fetuses and lower birth weights for girls.

The third group say they are mineral-based but they are coated in the chemical ingredients listed above, so make sure you read the label!

One additional ingredient that is sometimes added to sunscreen that can be harmful is Vitamin A. While this ingredient has it great benefits in other forms, when it is added to a sunscreen, it can form into small molecules call free radicals which damage DNA. Make sure your sunscreen, moisturizers with SPF and lip products do not include Vitamin A as an ingredient.

Is a sunscreen higher in SPF better for you? Not necessarily. SPF 100 sunscreen indicates you should be able to be out in the sun for twice as long, before you start to burn. For example, if you burn in 30 minutes, you should be able to stay out for 50 minutes. However, using SPF to pick the best sunscreen is misleading. SPF does not protect you from all the rays. It does help protect you from ultraviolet B (UVB) rays but not from ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. UVA can penetrate your skin much deeper and cause more damage than the UVB. By using a higher SPF, people tend to think they can stay out in the sun much longer, but this causes much deeper skin health concerns.

One last thing to remember before you buy that sunscreen! The FDA regulations have been grandfathered in from the 1970s. That was almost 50 years ago and we have learned many new facts about what we put on our body so it is very important to research which sunscreen you purchase this summer.

For a look at which sunscreens are best, please go to EWG’ 2018 sunscreen report by clicking HERE.


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Welcome Jackie Guidera!

Those that attended the Believe Big Fundraising Dinner heard the exciting announcement that Ivelisse and her family will be moving to Colorado this June. Jackie Guidera will be the Director of Operations for Believe Big starting May 1st. She will be in charge of running the day to day in Baltimore. Jackie has been a supporter of Believe Big since its conception in 2011 and has been an executive team member on our Board of Directors for the last eight years.
Ivelisse will continue to serve as the Executive Director at Believe Big, and her focus will now be long-range planning and goals, the mistletoe clinical trial, and patient care. In this transition, God has given her an even greater vision that we believe will be realized in this next season. One of our long range goals has always been to open a state-of-the-art Believe BigWellness Center where patients can find everything they need to heal in one place — mistletoe and nutrition therapy, organic prepared foods, art therapy rooms, acupuncture, a prayer room, and more. This special place would be where a patient is not only helped physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. There are several out-patient centers that provide these wonderful services, but we envision one that also allows for in-patient care and one that is not exclusive to only those who can afford it. We also believe that Ivelisse and her family’s move to Colorado will give us a greater strategic position to expand our influence across the United States and around the world.
If you are near the Believe Big office, please stop in and introduce yourself to Jackie, and welcome her to our team. If you are not local, feel free to send her a welcome email to!
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Thank you for being our warriors!

“Thank you for being our warriors!”

Thank you for joining us at our 7th annual Believe Big Fundraising Dinner.

What an incredible night!

We were blessed with Jennifer Gilbert as our Master of Ceremonies, encouraged by stories of HOPE from both Lisa Engelke and Jeff Charles (videos will be on our website soon), excited to hear the latest information about intravenous mistletoe and the Mistletoe Clinical Trial from Dr. Paller and Dr. Winters, and laughed so hard with Kenn Kington that our sides hurt!

Our goal of the evening was to raise $200,000 and to gain 100 new monthly partners. Well, God showed off because we were able to raise $285,000! We also reached almost half of our monthly partner goal with 41 new partners!

As Jimmy shared, those who give are healthier, happier, and, yes, even better looking! LOL! I am thankful to not only have the best volunteers, staff, host committee, board members, corporate partners, but also the BEST LOOKING donors around! 🙂

In all seriousness, thank you. Thank you for coming alongside of us to help patients face, fight, and overcome cancer. Thank you for being a warrior for those that can’t fight for themselves. A warrior is committed to a purpose bigger than himself, fights so that others won’t have to, and rises up to challenges, never gives up, and is filled with overflowing faith, hope, and optimism when odds aren’t on his side. That is you, a true warrior.

Thank you for Believing Big with us!
Ivelisse Page
Executive Director & Co-founder of Believe Big

P.S. If you were unable to attend, we missed you. If you too would like to be healthier, happier, or better looking 🙂 and come alongside of Believe Big with either a one-time or monthly tax-deductible donation, below is a link to be a warrior with us in the fight against cancer.


Donate Today!

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Story of Hope – Stage IV head and neck cancer

Russ LeBlanc Overcomes stage IV head and neck cancer!

written by: Rena LeBlanc
Just two years out from my battle with lung cancer, Russ was diagnosed with stage IV head and neck cancer. Our flesh was scared, angry, and exhausted, but our spirit had hope. We were once again on our knees asking God for healing, only to learn that God had already set relief, comfort, and HOPE in place for us.

For two years many had mentioned the hope and help for cancer patients found at Believe Big. One of Russ’ nurses happened to be a neighbor of Ivelisse Page. The nurse’s recommendation to contact Ivelisse was the final arrow pointing our way to Believe Big. Believe Big is a place of love and hope that led us to the gift of relief in mistletoe therapy. The mistletoe spared Russ from much pain and suffering during chemotherapy and radiation and aided in his recovery. Because of Believe Big’s grants and guidance, we were able to utilize mistletoe therapy and see an oncology nutritionist whose advice far surpassed anything offered at Russ’ hospital.

God nudged His people to pray for us, encourage us, and supply all our needs. Ultimately, He healed Russ of cancer, carrying and leading us through the darkest of times. These wilderness times can be frightening and harsh but they can also be the most beautiful as we see the Lord moving, hear His gentle promises, and feel His touch in our lives.
We “have learned to kiss the wave that throws us against the Rock of Ages.”
-Charles Spurgeon

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Story of Hope! Jeff Charles Beats Colon Cancer with Mistletoe!

My name is Jeff Charles, and I am a two-time cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer on December 3, 2012. I was 60 years old and in outstanding physical condition, which is a big reason why I am here today. I was in remission for 20 months and naively thought I had whipped cancer. Not so fast, my friend. February 2016 another tumor was discovered in my left lung, and I had surgery where they removed half my lung. I had the same oncologist from day one and became increasingly frustrated while under his care. After three lung surgeries to remove four tumors I asked him, “Where do you think we are, moving forward?” His response was a shrug of the shoulders and, “You’ll just continue to get more tumors.” That was my light bulb moment. I said, “There has to be a better way!”


I searched the internet for a natural approach to cancer and found Believe Big. I called and they directed me to the resources I needed. I received intravenous mistletoe, injections of mistletoe, and radically changed my diet. The great news is that no new tumors have appeared since changing my protocol and I am completely cancer free!


I am now on a mission to help Believe Big spread the word about a combined approach of complementary and traditional care to cancer treatment. I am thankful to have a job as a sportscaster that enables me to do so. You want to beat cancer? Be smart, be tough, and your attitude is incredibly important. As crazy as it sounds, cancer has been a blessing. Through having cancer, I have become a better husband, father, coworker, and just an overall better person. In a strange way it also gave me confidence. It’s like, “This is about as tough as it gets; I’ve come through this and I can handle anything and WIN!” I am forever grateful to Believe Big!

– Jeff Charles

Jeff Charles is a sports radio announcer for the Eastern Carolina University (ECU) Pirates. ECU is selling bobbleheads to commemorate Jeff’s 30th year with the university. All the proceeds from bobblehead sales will be directly donated to Believe Big to benefit cancer patients. You can read more about Jeff and purchase the bobbleheads here.

Believe Big believes that there are many aspects to healing. Each person needs an individualized diet and treatment plan for their type of cancer, stage, and sensitivities. Our vision at Believe Big is to see patients and their families discover their pathway to healing. If you or someone you love is in need of help, please have them contact us at 888-317-5850 or visit Do you have a story to share? We would love to hear about your story of healing.
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