Safe from the Shade Walkathon

Join me for the second annual Melanoma International Foundation's Safe from the Sun Walkathon! The walkathon will take place on May 6, 2006 in three US cities, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Seattle.

Seattle's event includes a 2-mile walk through the scenic Lake Sammamish State Park, a Kid's Dash, free skin cancer screenings and a Health Fair with focus on skin safety and skin cancer prevention. The MIF Walkathon is in memory of Warren R. Olson. Last year's walkathon raised over $200,000 towards melanoma awareness, education and research in addition to providing support to families suffering from melanoma.

If you cannot join me in supporting this important cause, please consider making a donation in my name. No amount is too small; your support is essential to stopping this deadly disease. The link for donating is: http://www.active.com/donate/SeattleSITS2006/JKogut14


Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. There is one skin cancer death per hour. It is now considered an epidemic.

The bad news: Once melanoma spreads (or metastisizes), it is extremely difficult to cure.

The good news: If caught early, melanoma is one of the easiest cancers to cure. "When detected in its earliest stages, melanoma is highly curable." -American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
The solution: Catch it early. This means we need to increase awareness. Individuals who learn how to check their own skin, and know what to look for, can protect themselves. Read the AAD's Melanoma FAQ.


Keep yourself and your loved ones safe in the shade. There is no healthy sun tan. It is all damage to your skin. Additionally, sun screen does not block all the rays reaching your skin, and clothing is often preferable to sun block.

The reminder "Slip, slap, slop" was developed in Australia, where skin cancer prevalence is highest in the world. SLIP on a shirt — SLAP on a hat — SLOP on some sunscreen.

Additional tips for making fun in the sun safer can be found at the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.


I was diagnosed with my first melanoma at age 25. I'm 33 now; my skin cancer was caught early, before it had deepened much or spread. I had what they call multiple risk factors, including excessive sun exposure during childhood and teen years (as a kid, I spent summers visiting ma grandmère française on the Côte d'Azur… lucky, but then again that's when I got the majority of my sun exposure).I continue to get regularly checked by my dermatologist. I have lost count how many other moles I've since had removed (I had a lot to start out with!), and two more moles were treated as melanomas. And I now practice sun safety, avoiding excessive (or even much) sun exposure, especially between the hours of 10am and 2pm, and covering up and wearing a hat when I do venture out.

Teach your children and other young people you know the importance of sun safety.


American Academy of Dermatology

American Cancer Society's Learn about Melanoma and Parents' Guide to Skin Protection.
CDC's Skin Cancer Questions & Answers, including relevance of the UV Index.

EPA's SunWise Program including Sun Safety Action Steps
Melanoma Interational Foundation

National Cancer Institute's What you need to know about melanoma. An extensive sight devoted to melanoma, what to look for, who is at risk, treatment options, and How to do a skin self-exam.

National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention


Sun Precautions, makers of 30+ SPF clothing

Federal Trade Commission's information on sunscreens and sun-protective clothing.