Kristen (pictured left) is an 18-year-old sophomore at the University of Maine. She heard about Your Skin Is In from one of her teachers through Service Learning Group at the University, an organization which aims to educate the community about health related topics on campus. Knowing the dangers of sunlight and UV rays the group brought Your Skin Is In campus wide.
They obtained pledges and educated fellow classmates, using MFNE t-shirts, lip balm, pins, and educational posters. The program was a huge success on campus and Kristen knows she helped make a difference in the lives of her fellow classmates.
I remembered Heather (pictured left) from when we were younger growing up, but actually hearing her story through a Your Skin Is In presentation at Norwell High School was really eye opening. I found Heather so inspirational; she made me realize how important protecting my skin was. I shed some tears after, but I’m glad it hit me so hard. I had tanned in the past and have always thought a little burn won’t affect me. Now I know that I was completely wrong! After hearing Heather’s story, I canceled my tanning appointments for prom and set one up with my dermatologist instead. I even took the Your Skin Is In Pledge!
Heather truly changed how I am going to do things from now on. I’ve always complained about wearing sunscreen, but I’m an avid sunscreen user now and wear a big floppy hat whenever I’m at the beach. I hope to influence others in the grade to make a similar step in their lives!
After participating in the Your Skin Is In program, Salem State University discontinued its longstanding relationship with the local tanning salon. For years the university allowed students to use the money placed on their student I.D. cards at a nearby tanning salons. In 2014, the MFNE brought Your Skin Is In to the campus and made a serious impact.
Kalei Ensminger, Nurse Practioner at Salem State, (pictured left) lead the charge, convincing administration that this relationship was not only unbeneficial to the school, but could be putting students at risk. Kalei successfully won her argument and squashed the partnership with the tanning salon!
I can say with confidence that the Melanoma Foundation of New England’s Your Skin Is In program saved my life. I was a junior in college, working part time at a tanning salon and rocking a beautiful orange glow in the middle of winter. I had started using indoor tanning beds in high school to tan before prom or get a base before a family vacation. By the time I got to college, I was tanning my freckle prone, Irish skin 3-5 days a week. I was addicted.
At some point during my junior year, one of my professors told us about a presentation by the Melanoma Foundation of New England. It was extra credit if we attended…and if my memory serves me correctly, I needed that extra credit.
I found my seat for the presentation and watched a girl not much older than myself get onto the stage. Her name was Meghan Rothschild (pictured above in white). Her personal story drew me in and as she moved onto some facts about melanoma and signs to look for, she had my full attention. Then she told the audience about another story. Glenna Kohl was an alumni of my university. At 26, she had lost her battle with melanoma. Glenna and I had shared the same major, had sat in the same classrooms, had walked into the same cafeteria each day. Something about these stories resonated so deeply within me. I left that presentation and decided to make a change in the way I was treating my skin. I gave up my beloved indoor tanning in exchange for spray tans. I felt good about the changes I had made.
Fast forward three years. Out of the blue, I notice a small, reddish spot on my arm. Something in my gut told me to keep an eye on it and for the next few months I did. As time went on, I thought about the Your Skin Is In presentation and the early detection tips Meghan had talked about started coming back to me. I had to get this mole checked out. So I visited my dermatologist. He didn’t seem concerned about the spot, but since I was worried, he biopsied it anyway. Then came the phone call, “We need to see you right away. You have melanoma.” Surgery at Mass General. An ugly, jagged scar that I didn’t understand because the mole was so, so small. Follow ups every three months. Dozens of circular scars from cautionary biopsies.
What I didn’t realize is the damage had already been done. Even though I had changed my behavior, I had already damaged my skin beyond repair. I thank God I needed that extra credit, that I attended that presentation, that the stories affected me so deeply because I probably would never have seen my dermatologist or insisted he biopsy that mole.
Download and copy our pledge forms or send students to www.mfne.org to take the pledge online.
Get at least 2% of your undergraduate college population to sign the Your Skin Is In Pledge. If sending by mail, gather all of your signed pledge sheets, attach them to the official cover sheet, and return the entire packet to:
Attn: Amy Mason
Melanoma Foundation of New England
111 Old Road to Nine Acre Corner
Concord, MA 01742
Contest entries due: March 30, 2015
Team Leaders will, by request, receive a certificate stating their leadership role in the Your Skin Is In program. They will also be qualified to win the following prizes:
Cash Raffle Drawing – $250
Two Team Leaders from each New England State will win!
Plus! Team with the highest percentage of pledges – $500 Team with the highest number of pledges – $500
One Lucky Team Leader will win: Select your preference when you register your team!
Be the Face of Your Skin Is In 2016
Spend the day at Six Flags New England with 10 friends
Pizza party for you and 50 friends
Bus trip to New York City for two ($200 value)
Individual Pledge Signers will win:
Keep Calm and Pledge On sticker
One raffle entry for $50 Visa Gift Card, twelve winners
Refer friends for more chances to win! Take the Pledge online to get a unique referral link to send to friends. The more people you get to take the pledge, the more you can win!
*16 raffle entries max. Entries are based on total referred at end of contest.
Any student at a college located in New England (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT) can enter the Your Skin Is In contest. The student who registers their college team is considered a “Team Leader” and is required to get a minimum of 2% of their undergraduate population. Regardless of the school size, each Team must have a minimum of 50 students who have signed the Your Skin Is In Pledge to be entered. More than one Team Leader can sign up their school using different team names. For example University of Skin might have 3 teams, Team Kelli, Team Delta Nu, and Team Basketball. Students can only pledge once and for one team only.
Having Melanoma is definitely something that I never thought would happen to me. I used to skip those articles in the magazines warning young girls about the dangers of too much sun exposure and UV radiation from tanning beds. That didn’t pertain to me, I thought. I wanted to be tan year round, and typically got that golden glow from weekly visits to the tanning salon.
As a child I used to get a sunburn a couple times each summer. I remember the pain of having my sensitive skin touch my sheets when going to bed. We didn’t realize the dangers of getting sunburned so badly, especially at such a young age.
I also had never been to a dermatologist. My moles looked perfectly fine to me! I could think of so many other ways to spend my money and my time. But then I went for my first visit, shortly after my 31st birthday. I was having a minor acne issue that I couldn’t clear up on my own. When making my appointment I figured while I was there I may as well get a skin check. The Doctor saw a suspicious mole on my inner left calve. I guess it looked a bit strange, I remember thinking. It was asymmetrical and two toned. Sure enough my results showed melanoma. He said if I had waited any longer to get the mole removed it would have been so much worse for me.
About 6 months later, I had another. I go to the dermatologist often now to make sure all my moles look okay. I am also so much more educated about the dangers of too much sun exposure and all the ways I can protect myself. I hope people can learn from my story and know a tan isn’t worth risking your health.