B$Z: Melanoma Foundation of New England Spreading the Prevention Message Nationwide
Melanoma Foundation of New England (MFNE), a non-profit aimed at reducing the incidence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is now offering cities, non-profits and private businesses the opportunity to obtain weather resistant, low maintenance sunscreen dispensing units for the benefit of their communities. A limited number are available for free to municipalities and non-profits that apply via an online RFP process, and any public or private organization can purchase dispensers for their use or as a donation. This sunscreen distribution program, called Practice Safe Skin, offers an effective preventive measure to help visitors avoid sun over-exposure year round in public and private recreation areas including playgrounds, ski areas, beaches, civic buildings and amusement parks.
The RFP process to apply for a free unit runs through March 30, 2016, with priority given to New England-based organizations in the first round. Businesses and organizations seeking to purchase units can apply online throughout the spring.
Melanoma is rising faster than any other cancer with one person every 50 minutes dying from the disease. Studies show that with daily sunscreen protection, the risk of melanoma is preventable. In response to the Surgeon General’s 2014 Call to Action to address skin cancer as a major public concern, MFNE and partner Make Big Change (MBC) launched a pilot program during the summer 2015 to donate free sunscreen throughout Boston parks and Massachusetts beaches at no cost to taxpayers.
According to Deb Girard, Executive Director of MFNE, “Our pilot program this past summer to install sunscreen dispensers within the City of Boston and on Massachusetts state beaches was a huge success. We are thrilled to be able to expand on that program and offer these sunscreen units for public and private distribution throughout New England and beyond.” She added, “We hope these sunscreen dispensers will become as ubiquitous as hand sanitizer over the next few years in businesses and outdoor recreation areas across the country.”
Following the success of the pilot program, the Practice Safe Skin initiative is expanding to give cities and businesses across the country the ability to offer this public safety program. MFNE will continue to donate free sunscreen dispensers to the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Department of Recreation for state beaches in 2016.
Sunscreen dispensers hold a 1000 mL bag of sunscreen, for 670 applications per bag. The all-natural SPF-30 sunscreen is safe for people aged 6-months and up with an all-natural blend of 6% zinc and 6% titanium. All of the ingredients will be printed on the machines upon installation, and are available upon request.
MFNE is subsidizing the cost and procurement of the free public units through private and corporate sponsorship donations, and funds raised by MFNE’s Running for Cover, one of the Boston Athletic Association’s® Official Charity Teams for the Boston Marathon. MFNE is also using this platform to expand their year-round public education programs aimed at melanoma prevention and detection. MBC is the New England provider of state-of-the-art automated sunscreen dispenser units. Since 2014 MBC has worked to place sunscreen-dispensing devices across high-traffic areas in New Hampshire including public parks and beaches.