After losing their son to Xeroderma Pigmentosum, known as XP, a rare and fatal genetic disease that causes skin cancer from any exposure to sunlight, Dorey and Yolanda Nez faced the devastating reality that their daughter, Leanndra, was also afflicted with XP. At their home in New Mexico, Dorey shouldered the enormous burden of caring for his daughter, while Yolanda, in her work as an advocate for Native American children with disabilities, encountered other Navajos who knew of children with the same disease. Following these leads, the couple made the astonishing discovery that while XP shows up at a rate of one in one million in the general U.S. population, on the Navajo reservation, which crosses three states, the rate is one in 30,000.
The film shows the family caught in a tug of war between traditional Navajo healing ways and Western medicine—neither of which is able to save their children. As Dorey and Yolanda work through the intense emotion of accepting the impending death of their child, they find themselves questioning everything they believe. And viewers question everything along with them. More than simply a window into issues confronting Navajo people today, Sun Kissed serves as a rich springboard for discussions about identity, responsibility and the unique love of parents for their children.
Download the discussion guide for Sun Kissed: