The Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation, was established in 2003 to deliver a comprehensive sun safety and melanoma awareness program, free of charge, to children and their caregivers. The SunAWARE Children's Program was developed to aggressively focus attention on the need to teach "prevention" or "sun protection". We recognize that the world can be a frightening enough place without making the sun an enemy. Therefore, the program was designed to be fun and informative while teaching children the 5 simple SunAWARE action steps. Providing children with a better understanding of UV intensity and sun sensitivity, as well as proper sun protection and skin cancer recognition will help them to achieve these action steps. Our goal is to prevent skin cancer, one child at a time!
The Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation has three specific goals:
- To increase a child's knowledge about the risks of excessive ultraviolet exposure from both natural and artifical sources.
- To encourage children to practice the 5 SunAWARE action steps.
- To reduce the impact of skin cancer on families and society.
"Martin Touhey provides an outstanding program for our high school students. He helps them to appreciate the long-term impact of overexposure to UV radiation. Martin's caring and committment to cancer prevention is obvious to all." Linda Landry RN, School Nurse in Middleboro, Massachusetts
The founder of the Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation, Maryellen Maguire-Eisen, has been an oncology nurse for over thirty years. When she workied in the Oncology Service at the VA Hospital and later caring for patients at South Shore Hospice, she became acutely aware of the terrible impact skin cancer had on patients and their families. Later, while working at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, she decided to specialize in skin oncology. She attended Simmons College Graduate School and trained as a nurse practitioner. She took a position in a dermatology practice, where she specilalized in the management of patients with skin cancer and taught sun safety in the local schools. In 2003, she decided to make it her life's mission to create an organization that would provide children and their caregivers with the informaiton needed to protect them from overexposure to UV radiation and prevent skin cancer.
"I wanted to let you know that the teacher reviews were glowing because we all thought you were superb. This SunAWARE Program is definitely one that we want to have come back again and again." Gina Brown, RN, Dawson Elementary School, Holden, Massachusetts
To achieve her vision, she founded the Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation and developed a specific, tactical, sun safety program that is targeted at school children from pre-k through twelfth grade. This activist, in classroom approach, is called the SunAWARE Program, and each year, more than 50,000 students actively participate in classroom presentations and projects provided by trained foundation staff. In addition, we bring our program into the community, teaching at sailing clubs, day care centers, health clubs, etc. The foundation has partnered nationally with the Dermatology Nurses' Association, the National Council for Skin Cancer Prevention, the Blue Hills Community Health Alliance, Boston University School of Medicine, Montana Division of Cancer Control, and others to implement select elements of this standards based multi-level curriculum. This blended program combines elements of science, health care, and fun, while stressing the importance of sun protection and skin cancer prevention. When it comes to skin cancer it is important to remember that, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure.
"Your informational sessions, classroom programs, and sun safety stations at Field Day have certainly raised people's awareness of the need for sun safety." Paul Daly, Athletic Director, Derby Academy, Hingham, Massachusetts.
Our Board of Directors is comprised of many talented individuals committed to making a difference in skin cancer prevention. They come from a variety of backgrounds including nursing, medicine, education, business, and journalism. Learn more about them and why they joined our organization.