Thursday, March 22, 2007
A Cancer-Free Honeymoon
Something very unexpected, yet extremely exciting happened the other day that proved to me that consistent sun safety educational messages do, indeed, make a difference. It also reminded me that miracles really do happen.
Before I share with you this story, allow me to provide a bit of background -
Last summer (I can't believe that was almost a year ago), I bought a gallon jug of Blue Lizard Australian Suncream for our cozy little college-style apartment. I did this so neither one of my four room-mates could find a reason to not apply sunscreen (and reapply it) before leaving to going outside. I provided each of them with a travel-sized tube to fit nicely in their stylish purses, but wanted to make it easier for them; to provide a way that they would not forget to slather on the sunscreen and therefore protect themselves from the intense Utah sun.
One room-mate - my best friend Melissa - describes it this way: "To the chagrin of interior decorators everywhere she put it beside the front door so as to make daily [sunscreen] application a more convenient part of our lives." (Read the afterword of the book to get the full description).
Three of the four room-mates were good to slather on the sunscreen. Though, one of those three claim it was because she didn't want to deal with my "freaking out over a sunburn". Yet, there was one room-mate was so darn stubborn about the sunscreen usage. She simply refused to wear sunscreen. She refused to do anything about sun protection. Moreover, she refused to refrain from achieving a "nice shade of brown".
(Just imagine how I cringed to hear her say that).
Truth be told, if you live with me, work with me, or associate in any way, it is safe to bet that you will receive an extensive education on skin cancer prevention, sun safety, the dangers of tanning, dermatology, choosing a sunscreen that works; how to maximize its efficacy (proper application), etc.
Despite this, however, I failed to convince this one room-mate that she needed to be SunSavvy, or at least forgo the tanning.
That is, until Monday March 19, 2007. She called me at work around 10:00 a.m. She was at the grocery store. "Danielle, I am looking at all of these sunscreens and I'm not finding any of the ingredients you told us to look for. Zinc oxide, right? Can you tell me which ones here at the grocery store would be good? I can't seem to find a good sunscreen here that has all the stuff you told us were essential." I told her that, quite frankly, none of them were going to be what she needed. "I thought that SPF 30 was the best. Why do someone of these say SPF 50? I thought there really was no such thing as a SPF 50?" Once again, I reminded her that she could look through every brand and still not find the sunscreen that she really needed. "This upsets me. People are coming to the store to get sunscreen to protect themselves and not getting what they think they're getting. Why does this happen? How is this right?" I informed her that that there is no FDA regulation regarding sunscreens. "Well, that isn't right? That upsets me." "I know, Amy, it is something that I, along with many others are trying to change." Her response: "So that Blue Lizard stuff you're always talking about really is the best stuff out there, isn't it? Could you bring some Blue Lizard with you to the reception tomorrow. I don't want to get cancer on my honeymoon. I'm scared. I don't want get melanoma!!"
(Now imagine my elation).
All this time, my silly, stubborn room-mate, Amy, was actually paying attention! She knew that an effective sunscreen should have, according to Australian standards (which are considered the strictest in the world), ought to have at least 5% of zinc oxide and 5% titanium dioxide. She knew that a sunscreen, in order for it to be effective, should be a broad-spectrum formula (meaning it protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays). She knew about SPF. She knew it...all. And now she was calling me at work, frantic about finding sunscreen before hopping abroad her honeymoon cruise the next day.
Thank you, Amy, for your example. Thank you for showing me that education does, indeed, make a difference. And thank you for protecting yourself and your new hubby. I only want you to be safe, happy, and healthy. And you are! How wonderful!
And here's to each of you. May you also enjoy a lifetime of safety, health, and happiness.
Posted by Danielle at 7:18 PM