Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Blue Lizard runs for skin cancer

Our friend and colleague, Jeff Bedard who is the CEO of Crown Labs (the manufacturers of Blue Lizard Australian Sunscream) will be running in the Boston Marathon to raise money for skin cancer prevention education.

We teamed up with Blue Lizard Australian Sunscream in producing the ONLY SKIN DEEP? book which, as you know, will debut shortly.

In the meantime, check out the incredible work Jeff and Blue Lizard are doing on behalf of the skin cancer community. THANK YOU, JEFF, FOR ALL YOU DO!!!! You are a champion; a true crusader!

For immediate release:
March 13, 2007
Keisha Bratton

Running down a dream

CEO to participate in marathon to raise sun safety awareness

When Jeff Bedard completed the 2006 Boston Marathon, his sense of accomplishment ranked among the best moments in his life. He could mark “run full marathon” off his life’s to-do list. He had done it, and raised almost $10,000 for skin cancer education to boot.

“It never really occurred to me that I would run the Boston Marathon period, let alone twice,” said Bedard, CEO of Johnson City, Tenn.-based Crown Laboratories.

Yet, here he is, training intensively as he prepares for a second run – so to speak – in what he calls an athlete’s “holy grail.” But it’s more than a personal goal. Bedard runs for a cause.

“I have a number of friends who have been touched by melanoma,” he said. “One of my friends lost his 21-year-old brother to melanoma, and another close friend lost his 64-year-old father to melanoma. I am not sure you can find anyone who doesn’t know someone with skin cancer. And it’s so sad because 95 percent of skin cancers are preventable.”

Crown Laboratories’ flagship product is Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, one of the top dermatologist-recommended protection products on the market. Made with transparent Zinc Oxide, Blue Lizard effectively blocks UVA rays, the cancer-causing ones, in addition to UVB rays, the ones that cause sunburn.

While Bedard is in the business of selling sunscreen, his primary objective is to help eliminate skin cancer. That’s why Blue Lizard does not make any product below an SPF 30+. That’s also why he takes the company’s partnership with The SHADE Foundation of America so seriously.

SHADE was founded by Shonda Schilling – wife of Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling – after surviving multiple melanomas. Its purpose is to eradicate skin cancer through the education of children and the community and the promotion of sun safety. Schilling herself runs in the marathon as well.

“Jeff shows the type of leadership that we wish all executives had,” Schilling said. “He demonstrates that you can be outside in the sun and still protect yourself. … We are hoping to raise $75,000 this year at the Boston Marathon, and Jeff’s efforts will aid us tremendously.”

“Skin cancer is the most common and fastest-growing form of cancer,” Bedard said. “How insane is that when it’s almost always preventable? Supporting The SHADE Foundation is the best way I know to get the message out to parents and kids that sun protection is absolutely necessary, every single day.”

Once people see the statistics and understand the severity of the situation, it doesn’t take them long to get on board, according to Bedard.

Graig Hoffman is one of those people. Hoffman, an executive at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., has worked with Bedard for several years now. Blue Lizard is the Official Sunscreen of Bristol Motor Speedway.

“I have become educated on the effects of sun damage and skin cancer and have seen the efforts of The SHADE Foundation first-hand,” said Hoffman. “I knew I wanted to get involved. Then Jeff and The SHADE Foundation extended an invitation to me in late August. I had a decision to make. I saw an opportunity to personally get involved in the cause of The SHADE Foundation, and I wanted to challenge myself personally to complete a goal that I viewed as unattainable.”

Hoffman, a former 300 lb. football player, knew the training would not be easy. Running just 2 or 3 miles at a time could be difficult, even 100 pounds lighter.

“Slowly but surely my stamina has increased,” he said. “As I am hitting distances of 20 miles, I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Bedard knows how Hoffman feels, and the satisfaction that will come on April 16, 2006.

“I was on pace for a sub-4-hour marathon until mile 19, then it hit me like a freight train,” he said of his inaugural marathon. “For the next 7 miles, I had to tell myself to pick up my foot and throw it forward. There were two things that kept me going though: The first was that I knew if I didn’t finish, then SHADE wouldn’t get any of the donations I raised. And the second was there was no way I was going to let my kids down -- they were waiting for me at the finish line, and I was going to be running as I crossed it.”

Bedard, Hoffman and The SHADE Foundation hope everyone will think about the severity of skin cancer and will make a contribution towards their efforts. All monies raised will be used for skin cancer awareness and education.

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