Oh Mr. Sun! by Natalie Malone

Sun, Mr. Golden Sun Please shine down on me!

natalie Mr. SunHe is one of my closest friends. I sang about him in Barney songs and basically grew up with him by my side. He was all around me. Every day after school, my family would go to our cabana at The Breakers on Palm Beach and spend countless hours with him. Wherever I went-to the pool, the beach, the playground, nature walks with my dad-he was always there too. I would do my homework and then set out for whatever adventures lay before me in paradise.

He has been there through it all. All of my best memories from my childhood, adolescence, and now into adulthood are with him. He is home! He is literally everything I miss about home and the reason why I cannot stand the gloomy Northeast. He makes me feel better about myself-skinny, glowing, and beautiful. His personality is every color of the rainbow. He comes in through the window and fills any room with his booming personality. But he can make you feel cold and sad too when he is not there. I love him. I loved everything about him-he gave me meaning as a girl from the Sunshine State. Imagine that? A whole entire state named after him, that’s how loved, adored, and desired he is - there is no other place I would call home. His kiss was sweet-and it was not just a small kiss, but a kiss all over, and though fleeting, the memory of it is everlasting.

No matter how sweet he may be, though, or how happy he made me, or how many memories we shared, he would always burn me. He taught me to never fully trust anyone, no matter how you feel about their presence. But this took a long time to realize. Almost two decades, as a matter of fact. Mr. Sun and I recently went through a rough patch in our relationship. He stabbed me in the back and did something I just never thought would happen to me. His kiss and his burns became a cancer. He betrayed me in the worst way possible. How could he do this to me? We had always been there through it all together. He was my constant companion. His warmth set me free, but now he just felt cold and mean.

Scars are a constant reminder of where we have been and the trial and tribulations we have overcome, whether they are metaphysical or real. This was real. I have never felt a pain like this in my life. I could feel the burn in every part of my body-it was the most painful, eye opening experience of my life. I couldn’t walk for almost two months. I couldn’t bend over, go to the bathroom, sit, stand, bath, without pain. It took over me. Recovering from what he did to me was hard. He has humbled me and made me feel like less of a person. He took something away from me. He has robbed me of youth-it is something I will never get back, but something I have learned to get over. My mortality has become real to me-I have learned the hard way that I am not invincible. It was silly to trust him.

Someone I trusted to never hurt me, or slowly kill me for that matter, did the unthinkable. Sure he had done it to others before, still does it now, and will continue to harm those who are not wary, but me? Yea, right. In a million years I would have never thought my friend would do this to me.

But we always come back. Letting go of our relationship has been rough-I saw him in Punta Cana over spring break. He begged me to just soak in his warmth a little bit. I missed him-his touch, his kiss, the way he made me feel about myself, so I let him, and I got burned yet again. My parents yelled at me for seeing him. How could they not after what he did? I still miss him though, and wish we didn’t have to part ways so early in life. His friends try to give me the same feeling, but it is just not there. He is so natural and ever present, that I can’t replace him.

They say that time heals all, and that is true of some things, such as the scars he has left me with, but I believe that the many years we have left of trying to avoid each other will be an uphill battle. Our love-hate relationship may continue, but I refuse to get stabbed in the back by him again.

How we got our governor to proclaim Don’t Fry Day in Massachusetts by Maura Flynn (SunAWARE Educator)

The Friday before Memorial Day annually has been designated as Don’t Fry Day (DFD) by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention (NCSCP). This day was chosen because Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off of summer. It is a program that encourages sun smaura proclamationafety and reminds everyone to protect their skin while they enjoy the outdoors. As one of 41 member organizations of NCSCP, the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation participates annually in activities aimed at promoting sun safety awareness through the Don’t Fry Day message. We encourage school projects and embark on a social media blitz to disseminate the DFD message.

This year, as part of our advocacy efforts we decided to approach the Massachusetts State Legislature. Because it was too late in the legislative cycle to propose a bill, we chose to request an official proclamation that would be issued by the Governor.

As someone who is deeply involved with policy and government affairs I have a very good relationship with my State Senator and Representative. I called the offices of both State Senator Jamie Eldridge and State Representative Kate Hogan and spoke with their staff about my request. I want to stress here that one of the most important things to remember is that legislative staff are key players. They are knowledgeable and in some ways, it is more important to make a connection with them than the members themselves. I always advise those who are new to advocacy to form those relationships and not to be disappointed that they “only” get to meet with or speak to staff. They are the worker bees who get stuff done.

DFD kids1After speaking with staff, the next step was to send the request in writing. This does not have to be a formal letter; email is generally the best way to communicate with any government official.
When writing to your legislator, it is always advisable to begin by thanking them for their previous support. If you have never brought any issues before them you can look up their voting record, find an issue they voted for that is important to you, and thank them for their vote.

In this case both Senator Eldridge and Representative Hogan had supported the Massachusetts under 18 tanning ban bill , so of course I referred to that as a perfect segue. Representative Hogan is the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health and we testified on behalf of the bill before her committee. She was very supportive and instrumental in moving the bill forward.

Included in my email was background information on the Don’t Fry Day initiative and documents about the importance of skin cancer prevention along with my request. The staff took it from there. They contacted the Governor’s Constituent Services Aide who requested that I draft the language for the proclamation and send it to her directly. The Governor’s website has instructions and gives examples to aid in drafting this document: http://www.mass.gov/governor/constituent-services/recognition/#proclamation

After drafting the language and submitting it I followed up with the Governor’s office to be certain that the proclamation had been accepted. I spoke with the staffer who had been my contact and she told me that the proclamation would be ready in a few days. I could choose to pick it up, have it mailed, or receive an electronic copy. Taking no chances, I chose to pick it up in person and it now hangs in the CMPF headquarters.

This year I have asked these legislators to introduce a petition making this an official event yearly. It is unlikely that any bill passes the first year it is introduced. So, while the bill is pending we will continue to seek a proclamation each year. It is our hope that Don’t Fry Day will be added to the official Massachusetts calendar in the near future

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

UV Photography teaches children about sun damage and sun protection

OMG, that's frightening! Our motto is to prevent skin cancer one child at a time and not to make the sun the enemy. However, UV reflectance photography Quincy High Girlsprovides a powerful personal snapshot of pigment change related to sun exposure. Because the camera system shows melanin deposits not visible to the naked eye it raises awareness about sun damage and the importance of sun protection.

For over a decade, we have used UV reflectance photography in our SunAWARE Program to educate children about skin cancer prevention. Children can clearly visualize their own skin and determine if they have sun damage. We remind children that they are not born with freckles but rather a genetic predisposition to develop freckling. We stress that melanin deposits develop at sites of excess sun exposure. We teach younger children that they need to give extra special attention to all areas where they have freckles. With older children, we educate them that freckles are a sign of sun damage and imparts an increased risk for skin cancer. We use this technology to drive home the importance of sun protection including sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and shade to protect the skin and prevent further damage

Our very affordable and effective camera systems includes a newer model DSLR reflex camera adapted for UV reflectance photography by Life Pixel. We use the video mode for the demonstration and mount an 8-inch monitor on the hot shoe for enhanced viewing. Outdoors direct sunlight provides enough UV for imaging. For indoor programs, we use black lights for our UV light source. They are available online or at party stores. The black lights work by eliminating visible light while transmitting UV light. We position the black lights on either side of the subject.

Another benefit to UV reflectance photography is that it allows us to demonstrate proper sunscreen application. Because chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays they appear black on the skin. We provide the child with sunscreen and ask them to apply it and then evaluate their application. We then ask them to look in the camera to see if they have missed any spots. Areas along the hairline, around the eyes, or rims of ears are common spots that people miss when applying sunscreen. We also demonstrate that sunscreens with physical blockers, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide makes their skin look lighter because they work by reflecting UV radiation away from the skin.

With skin cancer increasing faster than any other cancer in the U.S. and one person dying every hour from the disease, our hope is that we can provide children and the people who care for them with a simple lesson about personal risk and proper sun protection.

Leveret UV Camera System

1. DSLR Camera (Rebel T5 i)
2. camera battery Canon LP E8
3. Canon lens 0.16 mm 0.52 ft 24 mm lens
4. HDMI Mini cable
5. Tripod
6. light stands (2)
7. reflectors with clamps (2)
8. 2 black lights (22 Watt CFL)
9. 8 inch monitor (Ikan VH8-E6)
10. Monitor Battery Canon LP E6
11. Fotyrig 7 inch magic arm
12. battery charger(s)
13. extension cord
14. Extra batteries
    a. Canon LP E6 and LP E8

Save

Can you distinguish moles from melanoma? Learn how with this new online tool!

The National Institute of Health launched an online tool designed to help people distinguish moles from melanoma. The resource entitled, Moles to Melanoma: Recognizing the ABCDE Features, is intended to help educate the public about the appearance and features of common moles, atypical moles and melanoma.

The clinical photographs come from the National Cancer Institute’s Familial Melanoma Study. There are photographs of 29 different pigmented skin lesions collected from study participants over a forty-year period. Patient photos are shown over time, including illustrations of small moles that develop into melanoma. Dr. Margaret Tucker, the study chair and developer of the online tutorial, said that this tool would help people to distinguish normal changes in pigmented lesions from malignant changes requiring medical attention.

This is something for health professionals, patients, and the general public to use and learn about the clinical course of melanoma. Please check out https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2016/moles-to-melanoma

UV photos teach children about sun damage and proper sunscreen applicatiom

Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation  uses UV reflectance photography to illustrate the pigment changes resulting from UV overexposure. We teach children that they are not born with freckles but may have inherited a genetic predisposition to develop them. Our imaging tools provide us with the means to demonstrate that freckles develop at sites of cumulative sun damage. The images provide a clear illustration that freckles develop at sites in direct line with the sun at peak points. Children quickly understand that the scalp, ears, and nose are at particular high risk for sun damage. In addition, we are able to describe the difference between freckles and moles. We describes the differences between congenital, typical, and atypical moles. We also stress the importance of number, location, size, and surface characteristics in terms of normal versus abnormal, benign versus malignant.

UV Boy StandardUV Boy Reflectance

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

This year you should Implement our SunAWARE curriculum in your teaching. by Maryellen Maguire-Eisen

SunAWARE Curriculum (K-12) Our SunAWARE school curriculum is based on these five action steps; Avoid unprotected UV exposure and never indoor tan, Wear sun protection clothing, NJ 3 5Apply adequate amounts of SPF 30+ sunscree, Routinely examine your skin for changes, and Educate others.  In my experience, SunAWARE is the only acronym that incorporates both sun protection and skin cancer detection components. In 2011, we aligned our SunAWARE curriculum with the Massachuestts educational frameworks and standards. There are four discrete academic levels: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. The lesson plans, evaluation tools, and additional resources, including free  SunAWARE children's books are now available online at www.melanomaprevention.org. We are gratified that the Dermatology Nurses' Association and Montana's Division of Cancer Prevention have endorsed our curriculum to implement in their communities. We prevent skin cancer one child at a time by providing our curriculum and resources to anyone and everyone worldwide.  There is no permission, no charge, no subscription, no password needed.

The SunAWARE curriculum is easily replicated and adapted to almost any educational setting anywhere. The four objectives are to provide children with a better understanding of the factors that affect ultraviolet radiation and skin sensitivity, as well as proper sun protection, and skin cancer recognition. Each lesson includes clear goals and objectives, lesson sequence, supporting materials, special needs adaptations, extensions, co-curricular links, teacher resources, and evaluation materials.  Additional resources include a  UV bracelet craft kits and UV bracelets for purchase. Skin analyzers can be shipped to your community for use in programs.  For more information contact the foundation via email or phone.

Save

Save

Your Epidermis is Showing! by Maryellen Maguire-Eisen (Executive Director)

When people ask me how I got into the field of dermatology/oncology nursing and skin cancer prevention, I reflect back on a childhood memory. From the red headtime I was in kindergarten, I would delight in telling my friends “I can see your epidermis” delivered as one of those obnoxious taunts. Their reactions showed me that I had correctly guessed that they did not know that “epidermis” was the medical term for the skin. Today, I wonder if I was just being a vocabulary bully or having a flash of my future professional life.
Fast forward 50 years and I am still choosing vocabulary words to make an impact on people. Today, however, I am not trying to taunt with my words but rather to educate and motivate children about sun safety. Because my training and experience has taught me that sun damage in childhood leads to skin cancers in later life, this is where education and motivation must begin. For this reason, I started Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation in 2003.
Experts now estimate that there will be 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer this year alone. One person dies every 45 minutes from this preventable disease. Prevention is the key to reversing this frightening trend. And it must begin in childhood.
Tragically, skin cancer in the last thirty years is steadily rising among children. This trend is most likely due to the increased incidents of sunburn among children and the popularity of indoor tanning among teens. This, coupled with my firsthand experience in caring for patients dying of skin cancer, is why the foundation’s work is so important to me personally.
The Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation was founded to teach children and their caretakers safe and proven methods of sun protection and skin cancer prevention. How do we do this? Specifically, we teach children about the factors that affect UV intensity and skin sensitivity, as well as proven methods of sun protection and skin cancer recognition. We do this not through fear tactics but rather through fun and informative activities. Each year we teach thousands of children, teachers, nurses, and parents in the hope that we can empower them to practice what we preach, Be Safe. Be SunAWARE.

Save

Save

Lessons Learned by Kelly Murphy (Summer Intern)

As I reflect on my summer internship with the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation, I know MNN 1I will embark on my journey as a health educator and future nurse with a new and evolving tool kit. Below, I have listed just a few tips I learned throughout the summer. I have gained valuable experience during the twelve weeks I spent connecting with healthcare professionals, educating members of the community on sun safety, and representing CMPF.
1. Always lead by example.
I struggle to always live a SunAWARE life. I enjoy the warmth of the sun beating on my shoulders. Because of this, I don’t always appreciate and welcome the shade. While educating individuals about proper sun protection, I tell them to seek shade. Exhibiting and educating outdoors without shade, sends the wrong message. I am becoming more aware of caring for my own skin while teaching individuals how to protect their skin.
2. Wear many hats. Be prepared to adapt when necessary.
I recall the first presentation I did on my own. I was prepared for very small groups (2-3 people at a time) to come up to me to learn about proper sunscreen application and sun safety. When I arrived, I found out that I was going to be doing a presentation in front of 20 lifeguard and park staff. I was not prepared and very nervous. After providing the staff with a bumpy sun safety training, I left learning a valuable lesson. Always be prepared for anything and have a backup plan. I spent the rest of building my confidence as an educator by preparing for presentations and creating back up activities.
3. Always have fun.
I enjoyed interacting with members of the community while working with the SunAWARE education team. By using the UV camera system and making the events interctive, individuals were engaged and had fun learning about proper sun safety tips.
4. Remember, wearing sunscreen doesn’t have to stink.
Growing up, I would often opt out of wearing sunscreen if I wasn’t outside for a long period of time because I hated the smell. While exhibiting with CMPF, much to my surprise, I found a sunscreen that actually smells great! Now I apply sunscreen every day. It is important to find a sunscreen that you enjoy wearing.
5. Education is the key to prevention.
Through my summer internship, with the guidance of CMPF staff, I taught individuals at farmers’ markets, schools, pools, and beaches. While I provided them with information on how to prevent sun damage and skin cancer, the prevention continues when they educate those they love about what they learned at CMPF events.

Save

Page 1 of 6