For Immediate Release: December 10, 2007
The Cancer Crusaders Organization
Cancer Crusaders strike Gold again with one-of-kind skin cancer program for youth
Provo, UTAH (December 10, 2007) – Winter hardly seems the appropriate time to be discussing skin cancer prevention, but The Cancer Crusaders Organization knows that sun safety is a year-round affair.
The Cancer Crusaders Organization, an all-volunteer non-profit skin cancer education facility for young adults based in Utah, announces that it will be honored with the prestigious Gold Triangle Award by the American Academy of Dermatology for excellence in dermatology education. This will be third consecutive year that The Cancer Crusaders Organization will receive the honor.
“When we started Cancer Crusaders, one of our main objectives was to introduce a national ribbon symbol for Skin Cancer Awareness,” says Danielle M. White, co-founder and president of The Cancer Crusaders Organization. “We also wanted to recruit young adults in the crusade against skin cancer by developing unique and interactive ways to appeal to them, inspire them, and educate them. [This way] they can then raise the next generation of sun-savvy youth.”
White, who established The Cancer Crusaders Organization with friend and colleague Natalie Johnson-Hatch, a former Miss Utah, says focusing on skin cancer is a message of hope.
“While skin cancer is the most common, and fastest growing cancer in the world, it is also the most preventable. In fact, 90-95% of skin cancer is caused by over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and tanning beds; therefore it is largely preventable!” White adds that since more than 80% of one's lifetime sun damage occurs before age 18, it is vital that we teach young adults now, so that when they become parents they can protect their children. "By educating youth, we can stem the tide of this growing epidemic," she says.
As such, White spent the better part of 2005 and 2006 developing a pilot program called ONLY SKIN DEEP? Peer Educator's Training and Certification Program, which featured interactive academic lessons, tools, and other materials to teach youth about skin cancer. The program was then launched in 2006 as a test run to train high school and college students to become peer educators. “The primary objective of this peer education program is to involve young adults; to train them to teach their peers about the importance of basic skin and environmental health, skin cancer prevention, and sun safety,” White said. Students, after completing the eight week course, were then asked to complete assignments, take a final exam, write an essay, and perform various community service projects where they taught others about what they learned through the peer education program.
“The test run was very well-received,” White said. “One of our students, a junior at Southern Utah University, hosted several skin cancer awareness events in her community. She even got the city mayor involved!” White says that this student's essay was “so impressive” that she included it in her recently published book about skin cancer. “We received such valuable feedback from the students who participated in the pilot run, we have been diligently working to update the program [to make it] available to all melanoma skin cancer foundations, educational facilities, even the AAD in 2008/2009.”
White continues, “the message of skin cancer prevention – how important it is to take the necessary precautions, such as year-round sunscreen use, avoiding tanning beds, examining your skin – tends to be more meaningful to youth when it is received by a peer. This is why we developed the first—and--only curriculum that trains youth to teach others about skin cancer.” White says that if high schools and colleges, as well as other melanoma skin cancer organizations, utilize this program, “we can really up the ante, so to speak, when it comes raising awareness and protecting people from this disease!”
For more information about the program, about the Skin Cancer Awareness ribbon, or the Organization itself, please contact us at 801.863.6351 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cancer Crusaders Organization is a 501 [c]  non-profit founded in 2004 by Natalie Johnson-Hatch and Danielle M. White, and serves as the proud home of the National Skin Cancer Awareness Symbol(R).