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Monopoly Man: A Survivor Lives On

Jerry Dalton - Cooibar Melanoma Survivor Series

Note: Throughout May, Coolibar highlights melanoma survivors to call awareness to the dangers of melanoma. This week: the terrifying, ongoing journey of Jerry Dalton.

We thought that we wouldn’t get to meet Jerry Dalton, the certified rescue diver. Or Dalton the outdoorsman, the avid fisherman, or the deceptively tough jokester who worked for the maximum-security George Beto Unit in the Texas prison system, the guy who “could always handle what was going on.”

But really, we did. We met Jerry Dalton: survivor.

And this tough jokester known as Monopoly Man (so named by prison inmates when his mustache grew back white and bushy like the character on the Parker Brothers game) is still very much alive.

In an early communication about his schedule he informed us that “I will be fishing. Or swimming, depends on my balance that day.” That turned out to be a reference to what can happen when you combine the effects of long-term melanoma treatment with the effects of standing in a small, tippy boat.

Nerve damage prevents Jerry from lifting his left arm above his head; “fortunately, I’m right handed,” he says. “It’s just not so fortunate when you fall.” He also reports that he is numb from his face all the way down into his chest. “So…just another thing. It’s a perfect place to get shot I guess.”

A Harrowing Journey

Dalton’s battle with melanoma began in September 1999, shortly after his doctor had removed a mole from his left ear. Jerry was driving to Laredo, Texas with Mary, a medical technologist who would soon be his wife (and who plays no small part in this story; she is still by his side today). “I hit my ear with my finger,” Jerry says. “And it bled and bled and it wouldn’t stop. My wife suggested I switch doctors.”Jerry and Mary Dalton 1

Day surgery seemed to correct the problem – “you couldn’t even tell (anything had happened) when it healed,” Jerry says – until the biopsy results returned.

“It came back melanoma,” said Dalton.

A doctor in Amarillo did not hesitate to refer Jerry to Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. There was further surgery there. This time, “they had cut from the top of my ear all the way to the bottom of my throat,” Jerry says, “and (they) removed 40 lymph nodes.”

The cancer appeared in three.

“I was scared,” Jerry says. “But I didn’t really understand it at that time.”

Then came the first of what would be 10 years of PET (positron emission tomography) scans, which create images to show the possible spread of cancer cells –  “At that point it was like ‘why aren’t I glowing now?’” says Jerry – and one year of grueling interferon treatments.

He remembers places, and events. His first transient ischemic attack (TIA, or mini-stroke. A second, more severe TIA in Amarillo, and the doctors recommending he stop the treatments (“I REFUSED!” Jerry says). The day, during his first three-month PET scan, that doctors discovered an aortic aneurysm.

“I thought: oh, brother,” says Jerry. “I beat cancer, and now I’m gonna die of an aneurysm.” Open heart surgery in 2011, during which he received a mechanical heart valve “and a warranty card to boot.”

There were years of moving around and dealing with dwindling finances. Jerry went on disability in 2007; the couple lived in Clinton, Missouri and Palestine, Texas. Jerry and Mary bought several rental properties, selling all but two before the housing crunch. Mary moved to Lufkin and lived in a travel trailer for a while before they purchased their current home there (which “needs help…more than I do,” Jerry says).

This is an important part of the story: during this long period, Jerry was often stuck indoors. Sometimes, due to either the medical event or the treatment, he was unable to eat or talk. The outdoorsman was now wondering about the most basic activities.

“Who’s gonna mow the lawn?” Jerry remembers asking himself. “If I couldn’t do that, I’d have gone nuts.”

Surviving – and Living, Too

This is Jerry Dalton today: he speaks in a husky tone (one vocal cord is paralyzed). His vision is impaired from the strokes. He has a mechanicalJerry Dalton 2 heart valve. He used to weigh 240 pounds; now it’s more like 175. He’s accident-prone; the other day a piece of 2×6 lumber “fell out of my hand,” he says. “Now I have half a black eye…even my doctors look forward to seeing new bruises.”

Jerry Dalton is also cancer-free, and has been since 2011. “The best time was when they said, ‘you don’t need any more treatments. You are free to go,’” says Jerry.

What is most amazing is that he tells this story with a lightness of spirit that lets you know you’re speaking with Jerry the melanoma survivor and Jerry the adventurous rescue diver all at once.

“The biggest challenge for me was just doing the things that I want to do,” he says. “I’m still able to drive and do things like that. But it was all so rough on my body that anything strenuous, especially climbing stairs, has gotten crazy. And the hardest part was dealing with all that.”

Talking helps. Jerry has written a book, as yet unpublished, about his experiences. He reaches out to anyone who will listen about the dangers of melanoma and ways he’s discovered to effectively deal with a diagnosis.

For him, that has been a long-term effort to strike a balance. The former highly active life in and around the water must blend into his more recent existence, which for quite a while has included being afraid to step outside.

“I was so worried at the time to go out in the sun…we had to do something,” Jerry says. “After going through all this stuff with melanoma, and me not being able to go outside, I was scared to death. One of our first things was researching (protective) clothing.”

This was several years ago now, but the clothing remains – Jerry is never without a full-featured Coolibar hat, such as the Ultra Sport Hat, and a Coolibar UPF 50+ shirt. But the fear is subsiding. Jerry credits Coolibar clothing with providing a new freedom, the ability to live and play outside again without worrying about the sun’s UV rays and a recurrence of melanoma.

Mary DaltonA word about Mary: “There is no way I could have done all this without her,” Jerry says. In his mind he goes back in time to a car ride in 1999, and the diagnosis that immediately followed, and all that lay ahead.

“I said, “well, I don’t expect you to deal with this; I’ll just go back to my family,’” Jerry says. “And she said, ‘I don’t think so.’”

In late April, Jerry participated in the Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Splash at Sam Rayburn Lake in the couple’s newly purchased (actually it’s 37 years old, and as yet has no sun canopy) bass boat. That was his first venture out into the sun and water in many, many years.

This is Jerry Dalton, true to form: “I fished Friday am, it was so rough & full of boats that made mine look like a baby boat. I fell Thursday evening while trying to sit on the upper seat. This hurt so much, that I did it again Friday. I was out-fished this year. (But) it won’t happen again!”

 

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Wellness Warriors

Play Ball – Stay Safe!

Target Field Minneapolis

So far in April we have one exciting new item to talk about, which is our 2014 summer catalog; it’s starting to ship this week! Which would logically lead to another exciting thing: it’s baseball season again!

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that has baseball – major league or not – you might be thinking, like we are, about lots of days outside (hopefully) in the sun, watching your favorite teams (hopefully) skyrocket to glory on the diamond. Are you ready?

Here in Minnesota, we’ve been relatively sheltered – no really, we mean sheltered – when it comes to outdoor baseball. This is just the fifth season for Target Field in Minneapolis, where we can finally watch the Twins play baseball outside. In the 29 years before Target Field, professional baseball was strictly a domed sport in these parts.

So actually we have three more exciting things we like to talk about: baseball opening day, which here will be on April 7; the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which will be held here in mid-July; and sun safety, which is everywhere all the time.

How Long Is Too Long?

According to the Boston Globe the average baseball game lasts two hours, 58 minutes. Why so long? Should the game be shortened? Should there be rules against, say, batters re-adjusting every piece of equipment between pitches?

We don’t know!  But we do know that this is a lot of time to be directly under the sun without protection, even at theZnO LS T-Shirt very beginning of the season. If you’re planning to attend some outdoor games this summer, it’s time to stock up on some UPF 50+ sun protective gear. May we suggest a sun hat? Perhaps a light, breezy shirt that keeps you cool even in the sun (we have them for men, too)?

This is just to get you started. But the fact is, fans of baseball – like fans of tennis, or golf or any other sport that involves being outdoors – should always be aware of sun safety. Here again, in honor of the 2014 Major League Baseball season, are our official SunAware tips:

SunAWARE tips

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Events Inside Coolibar Success Stories Sun Protection Clothing

Coolibar and PRI Celebrate 10 Years

Coolibar and Partnership Resources, Inc. (PRI) recently celebrated 10 years of doing business together! PRI forms partnerships with Twin Cities area businesses, arranging jobs for its more than 230 clients with developmental disabilities. These workers help Coolibar by sorting, steam cleaning and repackaging returned items. Between four and 10 PRI clients work at Coolibar daily.PRI group

The 10-year partnership was marked with a luncheon provided by PRI and held at the Coolibar St. Louis Park, MN headquarters. The event was featured this week in the local Sun Sailor newspaper, which you can read here.

Coolibar is proud of our 10 years with Partnership Resources, Inc!

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SunAWARE Wellness Warriors

Keeping My Family Sun Safe

Quiana and Nia Agbai

by Quiana Agbai, Blogger, Harlem Lovebirds

We’ve been hit with brutal snowstorms this winter where I live in the Northeastern U.S., and while we tend to bundle up to protect ourselves from the elements an important area is often forgotten in the winter, especially by African-Americans: the skin.Nia Agbai stays sun safe

In my previous Coolibar blog post, I shared how a diagnosis of discoid lupus years ago has increased my vigilance regarding sun safety. However, I have to admit while I do an excellent job slathering on sunscreen, wearing sun-safe clothing and putting on my sunglasses in the summer it’s much harder to follow through in the colder months. With a 3- year-old daughter and a baby on the way, it’s important to me to set a good example for my family in regard to sun safety, and I’ve found three key tips to help me do this:Quiana Agbai makeup tips

Find products that multi-task – from the latest BB cream, lip balm and hair crème, there are so many dual function products. And who really has time for layering on serums, sunscreen, then foundation? I’ve found it best to find products that have both the coverage and moisture my skin craves along with the recommended sunscreen dosage. As an African-American, I especially like the blended products because the “sheer” sunscreens alone tend to still show up on darker skin. However the coverage make-up with sunscreen added in blend much better.Nia Agbai wearing sunglasses

Keep your sun-safe accessories accessible – getting out the door on time is a challenge each morning, and rather than fumble around I find it’s helpful to keep everything in a logical place. Sounds so easy to do but you’d be surprised how many mornings I still run around to find that particular pair of sunglasses – including my daughter’s Christmas glasses she insists on wearing well into the New Year – or a missing glove. I keep my own items in the same to-go bag each morning and find that rather than cluttering our narrow entryway with extra baskets or containers, good old fashioned pockets are helpful. I can put my daughter’s items right in her pockets including her SPF lip balm which she applies right before we head out the door each morning, and she knows it’s part of her sun-safe routine!

Make it a game – this is especially true for my husband who, like most men, loves a bit of competition! Rather than inundate him with frightening facts, I make an aging game out of it comparing our laugh lines, forehead wrinkles and emerging eye creases while doing our morning routine. I jokingly do a tally of “who has more.” Of course, while we can’t literally count our lines, it has spurred him to make sunscreen a part of his regular routine. Despite an inherent SPF factor of 13.4 for African-American skin vs. 3.4 for white skin, the Skin Cancer Foundation says that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. with disproportionately high mortality rates in darker-skinned people.

With these three tips in mind, it’s a simple way to include my entire family in sticking to a sun-safe routine. I’ve had family members affected by cancer and while awareness has definitely increased, I’m enthusiastic about setting an example within my community – especially when we as African-Americans often think we’re immune from sun-safety recommendations due to our increased melanin. Join me and Coolibar as we continue on our sun-safe path!

Quiana Agbai blogs about young family life in metro-NYC, entrepreneurship and how to balance it all while having fun. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she is a 2002 graduate of Wellesley College. After eight years in advertising and media, she decided to pursue her passion of family life and owning her own business. She can be reached at www.harlemlovebirds.com.

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Videos Wellness Warriors

Benefits of Travel

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us…”
– Anonymous

Travel is good for the soul. Immersed in new surroundings you learn, explore and experience the unknown, which broadens your mind and makes you grow as a human. Turns out, travel provides some additional benefits.

The US Travel Association launched a project this year called The Travel Effect, a multi-year, multimillion dollar research and marketing campaign to study and publicize the benefits of travel. “What we’ve long known anecdotally, we will now prove through authoritative research: travel has a positive effect on health, relationships, business performance and the well-being of communities,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.

Below are a few statistics revealed by The Travel Effect.

  • 57% of people who traveled as a children went to COLLEGE.
  • Adults who went on domestic education trips during their youth EARN $5000 MORE OR 12% GREATER INCOME than those who took no trips.
  • 85% of talent managers at “use it or lose it PTO” organizations agree that employees who take time off are “more productive in jobs.”
  • Family vacation memories last a lifetime, 62% of adults remember vacation from a young age.

And if that’s not enough motivation to book a ticket, check out this video from BuzzFeed.
You belong in the sun, Coolibar takes you there. Bon Voyage!

 

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SunAWARE Wellness Warriors

SavageMan Competitors Brave the Ultimate Triathlon Course for Melanoma Awareness

The 7th annual “Win-The-Fight” SavageMan Triathlon Festival at the Deep Creek Lake State Park in western Maryland attracted nearly 1100 elite athletes from 30 states and several countries including Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand on September 14, 2013. Athletes competed for more than a medal as the event raised vital funds for the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation, a voice for melanoma prevention, detection, care and cure.

According to the Foundation’s President, Greg Safko, “The ‘Win-The-Fight’ SavageMan Triathlon Festival has garnered much international attention as arguably the world’s toughest and most savage triathlon at the half Ironman distance.” Besides attracting the world’s most accomplished triathletes to test themselves and compete in the “#1 Hardest Race on Earth!” as rated by Triathlete magazine, the event also informed athletes, spectators and donors that melanoma skin cancer is the most common cancer among young adults ages 25 to 29, and if not prevented or detected early, is extremely formidable. “We’re very proud that our signature “Win-The-Fight” fundraising event for the Foundation is supported by a multitude of athletes, team members and sponsors such as Coolibar, to further the JMNMF mission of melanoma education, advocacy and research,” said Safko.

JMNMF President, Greg Safko (right, in blue) cheers on fundraiser and Team Win-The-Fight member, Mark Himelfarb of Lititz, PA, up the Westernport “Wall”.

The SavageMan 70.0 race features a 1.2-mile swim in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland’s largest freshwater lake, followed by the crown jewel bike stage featuring an over 6,000 foot vertical climb including the most savage ascent in all of triathlon – the Westernport “Wall”. After a 55.6 mile bike-ride, competitors run 13.1 miles on a lakeside trail and end the race with a panoramic lake finish.

Is SavageMan in your future?

U.S. Olympian Susan Williams (pictured) and 6x Ironman World Champion Dave Scott are notable finishers under the SavageMan banner – with D. Scott autographing all 1st place awards for each of seven years of the race’s history to support the JMNMF.
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Events Wellness Warriors

Lupus Walk for Hope

Every fall, the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota hosts a Lupus Walk for Hope and 5K Run in various cities throughout Minnesota as an opportunity to raise public awareness and show support for those with lupus. Chris Cronick, 2013 LFM ambassador, had the opportunity to attend the first of three walks this past Saturday in Minneapolis, MN. Chris shares her heartfelt appreciation for the support and education stemming from the first community event highlighting lupus.

We just wrapped up the 16th annual Lupus Walk for Hope and 5K Run/Walk here in the Twin Cities last weekend. Since its inception in 1998, the Lupus Walk for Hope has generated over a half a million dollars that has gone directly to fund lupus research. The event was a huge success with record breaking attendance of over 1,000 runners and walkers. Many smiling faces, lots of camaraderie, positive energy flowed, and everyone donned purple for lupus awareness. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who participated. I was amazed at the love and support I felt that day. It’s definitely an experience I will never forget.

It was an absolutely perfect day. Festivities started at 9 a.m. with crispness in the air that reminded me fall is definitely here. It was about 50 degrees with a cool breeze and the sun brightly shinning. As you may have read in my last post about having lupus, as much as I love a beautiful day, the sun isn’t necessarily my BFF. We have a love/hate relationship.

Since being diagnosed with lupus, I need to strategize my game-plan for each day when it comes to sun exposure. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that attacks all sorts of organs in your body, including the largest organ, the skin. Aside from the sun causing a flare, approximately two-thirds of people with lupus will develop a type of skin disease called cutaneous lupus erythematous. Skin disease in lupus may cause rashes or sores (lesions), most of which will appear on sun-exposed areas such as the face, ears, neck, arms and legs. A high percentage of people find their disease is aggravated after being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight or artificial light.

Thankfully, we can take preventative measures to stay sun safe outdoors:

• Seek shade, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Wear sun-protective clothing and broad-brimmed hats
• Use plenty of broad-spectrum sunscreen, with at least SPF 30

The walk was held at French Regional Park in Plymouth, MN. Luckily, a well-shaded pavilion area was nestled right in the middle of the park. The walking trails were also covered with beautiful, large trees, so my husband Patrick and I both were able to stay out of the sun for a large portion of the day. When we were in the sun, we used sunscreen and wore our Coolibar clothes.

Patrick and Chris

I took the layered approach and wore the women’s Fitness Jacket over the Vera Resort T-Shirt. He wore the men’s Fitness Jacket with his LFM running t-shirt and the men’s Fitness Pants. My team also sported purple feather boas and butterfly bandanas, Cronick’s Chronic Crue signature accessories. The clothes were absolutely perfect for the weather and occasion — light-weight, protective and comfortable. These items are our favorites.

I’ll be wearing Coolibar again as we have two more walks to complete: one in Rochester, MN, September 28th as well as Duluth, MN, October 5th. I’d love to see you there.

Chris Cronick – LFM Ambassador

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Wellness Warriors

An Ambassador for Lupus

Chris Cronick, the 2013 Lupus Foundation of Minnesota Ambassador, is a role model for us all. A fitness coach, spin instructor and motivational speaker, Chris has triumphed over some major health obstacles, and still maintains a positive attitude.

Hi, my name is Chris Cronick. I am sharing my story, raising awareness of lupus, and kicking-off this year’s Lupus Walk for Hope & 5K Saturday September 14th, at French Regional Park in Plymouth, MN.

I’m 38, and I have rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease, both of which are autoimmune diseases. I’m also the proud recipient of six artificial joints. Apparently I wasn’t quite finished adding on to my list of ailments because back in 2010, I suddenly became very sick and spent six months in and out of different hospitals. Many tests were done and finally, I was given a diagnosis of lupus.

Your body’s immune system is designed to protect you from disease and infection. If you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your body. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects many parts of a person’s body including: kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood and the largest organ of the body, the skin. Those of us with lupus MUST stay out of the sun or we risk a flare. A flare is a period of heightened disease activity which can range from mild to very severe, requiring hospitalization.

Case in point: Back in September of 2011, just one year after I was diagnosed with lupus, I learned my heart valves were damaged from a lupus related infection for which I would need open heart surgery. That is how crazy lupus can be. Fortunately, I was able to make a recovery that is nothing short of miraculous because now, I am a Motivational Speaker, Fitness Coach and Spin Instructor. You can learn more of my journey at: http://chrisinspires.com/.

Health and wellness are true passions for me and I do everything in my power to stay strong and healthy. I’m super excited to finally feel well enough to volunteer and raise awareness for this life altering disease which is what lead me to the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota. LFM has been a tremendous support to me in many ways and a partner in my journey. In fact, while there, I was first introduced to Coolibar and it’s literally been a life-saver. I had no idea a company like this existed.

Prior to lupus, I was on several medications for rheumatoid arthritis that made me highly photosensitive. If I were out in the sun, I could burn more quickly and more intensely. Now that I have lupus, not only am I still on those same photosensitive medications, I must avoid the sun altogether to avert flares. Yes, it’s a double whammy but staying out of the sun is one way I can manage this disease. With that said, it’s not always so easy.

I’m fairly young and active, even though my body sometimes makes me think otherwise. If I’m feeling good on a beautiful summer day, I’d rather not sit inside for fear of a flare–especially because I live in Minnesota and we only have a three-month long summer! I want to get out there and enjoy the weather. Contrary to those who think we have snow year round, it gets very hot and humid here and to be outdoors in a traditional hoodie or long-sleeve shirt can be miserable. I’ve had the hardest time finding light-weight, comfortable, and fashionable clothes for outside until I discovered Coolibar. To know Coolibar is blocking 98% or greater of both UVA and UVB rays, and the clothes are also cool, is a bonus.

Coolibar has fast become a staple in my wardrobe. The fit, the feel and the function – I can’t wait to share my favorites with you all! I will be sporting some at our upcoming Lupus Walk for Hope & 5K next weekend. If you’re in Minnesota, join us for the Lupus Walk for Hope in any of these three areas.

Twin Cities (September 14); Rochester (September 28); or Duluth (October 5)

More to come soon.

-Chris Cronick

Learn more about the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota.

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Wellness Warriors

24 Marathons in 24 Days to End Childhood Cancer

After a medical miracle in his own family, Brian Gruender wanted to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer. Brian is a father of four and president of the Snowdrop Foundation, which provides scholarships to college bound pediatric cancer patients, while also raising awareness and funds for the continued research efforts to find a cure to childhood cancer. Despite his busy schedule, Brian was determined to do something for the children. So this summer, Brian completed 24 marathons in 24 consecutive days.

“The number 24 is symbolic because it’s the number of cancer beds at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital and the number of hours we have each day to complete our runs,” said Gruender. This event brought national attention to pediatric cancer.

Brian Gruender holding the American Flag as he heads for the finish line of his last 24-4-24 marathon.

When Coolibar heard about Brian’s mission and the extensive training involved, we decided to help him with sun protection. “I used the short sleeve shirt during my 24 marathons in 24 days event, which included several 90 degree days,” said Gruender.  “It kept me protected from the sun’s harmful rays and gave me peace of mind, allowing me to concentrate purely on running.”

This October, Brian hopes to complete another feat. He, along with three others, will be running 165 miles over four days to raise awareness and funds for the Foundation. Each day they will run to honor a child battling cancer in their home state, Wisconsin. On the fourth day, the runners will arrive at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital to kick off Courage Over Cancer (Fund-urance Run), a 5K run open to the public.

We wish Brian and his team the best of luck this fall! To learn more about the Snowdrop Foundation, visit http://snowdropfoundation.org

To learn more about Coolibar Sun Protection You Wear, visit http://www.coolibar.com

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Success Stories Wellness Warriors

Not Pasty

Pasty. With one word, an instant emotional connection occurs. A word some degrade themselves with when spring comes and their skin is pale. According to Jen Adkins, mother and founder of Not Pasty, we’re not pasty. We’re simply the color of our skin. No more, no less. After a life-altering experience, Jen is now working to change people’s perceptions of what it is to be pasty – and feel beautiful with the skin you were given.

As a redhead with fair skin and many sunburns as a child, sun safety has always been important to me, especially now as the mom of two blond hair, fair boys. As a writer who focuses on skin care, I’ve always been a bit obsessive with sun protection. Most of my readers are interested in learning about wrinkle prevention and I love telling them that sunscreen is the #1 anti-aging product on the market. But recently, my need to stay on top of sun safety took on a whole new level.

Last year, my family of four grew by one with the addition of our amazing then 5-year-old daughter. It was love at first sight, literally. The very first night we were together, I noticed that there were quite a few little brown moles on her skin. Later at a checkup, her doctor decided they were probably clogged pores, but referred us to a dermatologist to be sure.

The dermatologist almost instantly told me she thought my daughter had skin cancer. Biopsies confirmed her thoughts. Those “clogged pores” turned out to be basal cell carcinomas and her body was full of them – hundreds, head to toe.

It’s quite life-changing to all of a sudden have a 5-year-old with skin cancer. Skin cancer is an adult cancer, or so I thought, but I was wrong. It took us some time to figure out how to do life with skin cancer and of course we’re still learning.

Imagine knowing that going out in the sun will increase the number of cancers tumors on your child’s body, yet also knowing that your child doesn’t care about that and just wants to be a normal child. It is a tough balance trying to come up with ways to allow her to be that normal child while taking on the adult responsibility of keeping her skin safe. Our sun safety habits as a family have taken top priority, not just for our daughter, but for all five of us.

Jen Adkins’ Family

In June of 2013, after living with skin cancer for over a year and writing about skin for more than five years, I launched a new website called Not Pasty. We chose the name Not Pasty as a jab at those who use the term “pasty” to degrade fair skin. Not Pasty is about sun safety, self-love and even a bit of beauty. It’s a place where women can go to learn about enjoying sun safely, share their stories of self-love and encourage others in their journey of self-acceptance.

Because I write about the skin for millions of readers and live with skin cancer in my household every day, switching the focus of general skin topics to sun safety was an easy step for me and I have a lot of knowledge to share. My goal at Not Pasty is to tell sun truths, not fads or myths. I always fall on the side of caution and am constantly in contact with top doctors and experts around the country when questions arise.

I want Not Pasty to be the place people go to learn and discuss sun safety – where people can learn facts and tips, share what sun protection products they are using and learn about new ones. And we love when women share their personal stories – we call them Real Stories – about how they walked through the hard and came out ahead.

Most importantly, I want to encourage women to see their natural skin color as unique and beautiful and come to realize how ridiculous it is to brown their skin in the sun in order to achieve some silly idea of media-pushed beauty.

I’d love to be a part of changing the way the world thinks about natural skin tones, and I’d love to have you be a part of it with us.

Jen Adkins
Not Pasty

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