20 Under 40: Rhye has overcome cancer, now helps others do the same

Published 3:08 pm Tuesday, July 30, 2019

In June of 1999, at 11-years-old, Amanda Rhye was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia and was told she had no chance at survival, but her story didn’t stop there. Now 20 years in remission, Rhye, 31, is spreading hope to cancer fighters everywhere through her nonprofit, HOPE xo.

“In June 2017, before we launched HOPE xo, we found out my sister-in-law had breast cancer,” Rhye said. “So, it was a sign that I knew I needed to do this, and it needed to be launched.”

Starting off, Rhye simply expected HOPE xo to be a pop-up shop. Little did she know two years later she would be sending off shirts, buttons and care packages filled with hope all over the country.

“We are campaigning for the buttons, where we give 30 percent of all net sales to go to childhood cancer research,” Rhye said. “With cancer awareness months coming up, we are going to try and raise some money to make that happen and use these buttons to do that, we are calling this ‘Project Buttons.’ Lucky buttons right now are what I am working on.”

Rhye not only produces her HOPE xo products, but also spends time travelling to hospitals visiting children who are fighting against cancer.

“I have a group of kids right now that are going through treatment and when I know they are at the hospital I will take them coloring books and HOPE xo kits or deliver bears with the Caden Project,” Rhye said. “We go all over to different hospitals, not always the same one.”

After visiting one in Jacksonville, Florida, and after traveling all over Georgia to visit hospitals, Rhye said one of her goals for the year is to visit even more.

“We also visit the Ronald McDonald House where we feed them, do activities and give out little HOPE xo kits there as well,” Rhye said.

When it comes to the cancer treatments and the children fighting for their lives, Rhye said the main thing they need in the hospital room is “just a little hope.”

“It brings a smile to their face,” Rhye said. “Just being able to go and see the moms and the dads light up and give them a little hope is so incredible. I’ll show the kids my bald-headed little photos and tell them that was me once too.”

When she’s not having dance parties in hospital rooms or spreading hope wherever she goes, Rhye is chasing around her two children, Khyler and Violet, or supporting her husband Josh, the pastor at 3Life Church.

“I’m a mom, a wife and I love taco Tuesdays,” Rhye said. “But at the end of the day if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. Dealing with cancer is not fun, so I try to keep people smiling.”

—Story and photos by Jenna Oden