Save a life: Spread the word about the Importance of Sun Protection!

The importance of sun protection became quite clear to me in 1993 when I returned from a tropical Club Med vacation to find out this small white bump on my cheek was skin cancer.

It's weird to say it, but luckily for me, it was Basal Cell Carcinoma - a very curable form of skin cancer. But talk about freaking out - I was only 26 and I had skin cancer on my face! Yikes!

Through the recommendation of a co-worker, I went to see a wonderful dermatologist in New York city, who then referred me to a Mohs surgeon.

I was left with a very small scar on my left check that I wear as a badge of honor. I point it out to everyone and usually lecture them on the importance of sun protection.

You see, I grew up in sunny southern California where we played outside all the time, riding our bikes, playing in the park and swimming in the pool. This was pre - MTV and video games were just gaining traction. Atari® was the thing back then. I’m not even sure there was cable TV yet. Are you getting an idea of my age yet?

Suntan lotions were just beginning to state their “SPF ratings” and really didn’t do much to prevent sunburn. I can attest to that - I got red just looking outside.

All my friends could tan and I hated them for that. I called my fair skin and freckles “the California curse”. Now I am so thankful it kept me from becoming a beach bum and doing more damage to my skin. Trust me, I did plenty.

My family played a lot of tennis. Me, I played at least 4-6 hours a week. My first tennis lesson was at age 6 and I played through college. My brother is a teaching tennis pro in the Los Angeles area. (Shameless plug: let me know if you want lessons). My folks retired to Phoenix and play more sports now than when they lived in LA. Everyone in my family has had a Basal cell removed and Mohs Surgery. Both my mom and brother underwent the topical chemotherapy Efudex®. For the past 22 years, I have worked in the women’s activewear industry. It’s been exciting to see the invention of UV protective clothing, hats and swimwear.

As a buyer of Women’s Activewear for a High-end national department store, I was able to work with the best companies as they introduced this technology.

For the past 15 years, I have been with the Line-Up Group, a women’s golf and resort apparel company. It’s a family run business that has also been touched by Melanoma. In 2008, we decided to venture into the UV protective clothing arena with SanSoleil®, a line of luxurious cotton UPF tops for women.

I am not an expert on skin cancer, but you might say I‘ve been overexposed to the importance of sun protection in both my personal and professional life, so it felt natural to share this information.

My friends will tell you I am pain in the @$$ about sunscreen and remind them over and over again to put more on. I think they do it just to shut me up and I’m okay with that.

This is me on a snorkeling trip wearing my very fashionable Wallaroo, UPF 50+ Sun Hat.

When I do go to the beach, which I still love by the way, I'm easy to find.

I’m the one under the beach umbrella, wearing a wide brim hat, UV protective sunglasses, SPF 30+ and more often than not, a long sleeve cover-up.

I practice what I preach – and if I can get one person to understand the importance of sun protection from this web site I will be satisfied.

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