The month of May marks Skin Cancer Awareness Month throughout the United States, and today specifically is dubbed “Melanoma Monday.” Since its inception in 2008, the I Will Reflect initiative, under the direction of The Spa at Belmond Charleston Place, aims to increase local awareness about melanoma, educate the public on the dangers of sun exposure, promote effective, affordable sun safety habits, and raise awareness about the importance of an annual full-body mole check. For the last two years, I Will Reflect and the IMPACT Melanoma Foundation have joined forces to spread this awareness.
You can practice safe skin by:
- Wearing sunscreen year round
- Using a minimum of 15 SPF (broad spectrum) sunscreen
- Seeking shade between 10 am and 4 pm
- Having an annual full-body skin check
- And sharing this important message with others
Last year, IMPACT Melanoma Foundation and I Will Reflect launched a successful sunscreen dispenser initiative throughout Charleston. To date, the organization has raised nearly $20,000, and installed more than 25 sunscreen dispensers in strategic areas throughout the peninsula. The Sport SPF 30 Sunscreen is dispensed in measured doses and is free to use.
List of current locations:
- Washington Park
- Waterfront Park
- White Point Garden
- Ravenel Bridge
- Marion Square
- Brittlebank Park
- Colonial Lake/Moultrie Playground
- Hampton Park
- Harmon Field/Herbert Hasell Pool
- Hazel Parker Playground
- Maritime Center
- Mitchell Playground St Julian Devine Community Center
- Joseph P Riley, Jr Ballpark (10 units)
- Lowcountry Children's Museum
Moving forward, the goal for 2019 is to extend the program further into parks, pools, and beaches, and eventually schools. Overexposure to sunlight before age 18 is most damaging to the skin, meaning daily activities like recess or outdoors sports can cause harm if the skin is left unprotected. Studies show that getting a sunburn once every two years can triple one’s risk of melanoma.
Each year in the United States, more than 76,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma, one every eight minutes, and more than 9,700 Americans die of melanoma - one every hour. Despite tremendous advancements in medicine, the melanoma death rate has remained static for the last 30 years while the incidence is rising. And, unfortunately, the increase in this deadly disease is among young people, 18-25 years old.
To learn more and to donate, please visit www.iwillreflect.org.