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While Melanoma Treatments Advance, Prevention Remains Key

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, isn’t going away. In fact, The National Cancer Institute previously estimated in 2011 that 70,230 people would be diagnosed with melanoma and 8,790 would die of melanoma of the skin. While two major melanoma treatment advancements have made headlines over the past year, it’s even more important to remember that the best way to fight this disease is prevention.

When caught early, melanoma can usually be cured with surgery alone, but once it metastasizes, treatment options become limited. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for stage IV melanoma is about 15% to 20%. Yervoy™ (Ipilimumab) and Zelboraf™ (Vemurafenib) are two new late stage melanoma fighting drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. Yervoy is the first melanoma drug to receive FDA approval in 13 years. It’s also the first proven treatment to extend overall survival for late stage melanoma patients. “Yervoy may offer many patients a 2-year survival advantage, with a smaller percentage of patients being virtually cured,” claims the Skin Cancer Foundation’s (SCF) report the new drug.

B-RAF
Crystallographic structure of B-Raf (rainbow colored, N-terminus = blue, C-terminus = red) complexed with vemurafenib (spheres, carbon = white, oxygen = red, nitrogen = blue, chlorine = green, fluorine = cyan, sulfur = yellow). Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:3OG7.png

According to the SCF, Zelboraf, approved later in the year by the FDA, is the first targeted genetic therapy of its kind to treat advanced metastatic melanoma patients whose tumors have a specific mutation in the BRAF gene that’s present in 40-60 percent of melanomas. While both drugs represent a step towards a cure for melanoma, in most cases, these treatments only extend the life of advanced stage melanoma patients, and a cure for melanoma has yet to be discovered.

Even though melanoma, in particular late stage, is difficult to treat once it occurs, the good news is that skin cancer, including melanoma is preventable in many cases. Over exposure to UVA and UVB rays produced by the sun or artificial ultraviolet light (i.e. tanning beds) can form genetic mutations in the skin, which leaves those who have burned or tanned susceptible to all forms of skin cancer later in life. UV radiation is considered the main cause of nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSCs), including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The SCF says NMSCs strike more than 250,000 Americans each year. Experts also believe UV radiation may also cause melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

By protecting yourself from UV rays (both artificial UV from tanning beds and naturally occurring UV from the sun) and performing routine skin checks, you’ll not only help reduce the incidence of skin cancers, but improve your overall skin appearance and health. Skin sun damage is cumulative, so there is still time to grab a bottle of SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen, a wide brim hat, UV sunglasses and look into adding sun protective clothing to your wardrobe.

Photo credit: anolobb

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Inside Coolibar

Happy Holidays from Coolibar

The holidays create such excitement here at Coolibar. Chances are you’ve probably talked with one of our cheery customer service gals on the phone or chatted with our social fanatics on Facebook, but now we want to take a brief moment to let you get to know some of the people you’re dealing with (and we mean that in the nicest way).  Let us preface this by saying we work VERY hard, but we like to have a little bit of fun too.

A little friendly competition never hurt anyone –right? Our tremendously smart accounting team (or should I say Ben?) decided to arrange an ugly holiday outfit contest.  The competition was fierce, as you can see from the group photo, but our customer service extraordinaire Peggy took home the ‘prize’ for this one.

Ugly Shirt Day

Then, who can resist homemade cookies, candy canes and boxed chocolates that seem to make their way into the office every day during the month of December.

The holiday treats are almost gone!!

This holiday season, we decided to sponsor a family through the East Metro Women’s Council. Many of us took an hour out of an afternoon to neatly wrap all of the goodies we went out to find and top every last package off with a bow.

Wrapping presents for the adopted family

Finally, as a fun little activity, everyone had to reveal what the BEST gift they ever gave was. Answers included:

“Dog sledding in Jamaica.” – Alicia, Coolibar Merchandising

“I surprised my husband with a piece of artwork that he really wanted.  He thought I wasn’t listening when he spoke of how much he liked it.  I had to sneak around to connect with the artist, pick it up and keep it hidden – not an easy task.” – Jennifer, Coolibar Marketing

“A toaster. Long story.” – Seth, Coolibar Warehouse

“The first year Aaron (my boyfriend) and I celebrated Christmas together, we gave gift cards to a Hibachi restaurant to each of our families and some of our closest friends, and planned a date where we all came together for a meal. There were probably about 25-30 people at the dinner, and it was a great chance for our separate friends and family to finally meet and mingle.” – Rose, Coolibar Administration

“Two diamond rings…long story.” – Lu, Coolibar Creative

“My step mother has been going to a vacation house in northern Michigan since she was young. Often I have joined them in the summer. There is an old abandoned barn in a field that she loves to spend time looking at and getting lost in the beauty of it, and the picturesque scenery. One summer I took my 35mm camera and tripod and snuck out to take black and white photographs. I kept this a secret until Christmas. I had the picture blown up and framed in a mounting that resembles old planks of wood. Now she can look at the barn set in a field of high wheat any time she wants to.” – Ben, Coolibar Accounting

“Happiness and smiles.”  – Oumkarn, Coolibar Information Technology

“I gave my husband a hot air balloon ride over Lake Minnetonka.  He loved it!” – Pat, Coolibar Customer Service

Let us know on the Coolibar Facebook page what the best gift you ever gave was. We hope you enjoy celebrating the holidays as much as we do. Happy holidays from the Coolibar family to yours!

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Sun Protection Clothing Wellness Warriors What our customers say

For Women with a Sense of Adventure – Travel Sun Shirt Review

Soft Adventure Travel, the fastest growing segment of the exploding travel industry, is rewarding for the spirit and intellect, yet is safe and without excessive physical demands. Linda Ballou, author and soft adventure travel writer, has hiked, biked, kayaked and horse-backed through untouched country. Most trips are with a reliable guide, but often she explores alone seeking the sustenance from nature that can only be found in solitude.  With a degree in English Literature and a published author for over twenty years, Linda’s well-researched articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Northwest Travel, Specialty Travel Index and she’s the LA Outdoor Travel Examiner .

Linda knows a thing or two about the importance of carefully preparing for every excursion, including sun protection. “Since I am a ‘booming boomer’ in the most likely demographic to develop skin cancers, I really must pay attention to sun-protection,” says Linda. “It’s so important that I plan to write an article on the subject in my column on the National Association of Baby Boomer Women site in January. I hope to spotlight the Coolibar Women’s Travel Sun Shirt, which contains a built in sun scarf for additional coverage on tender chest skin, and the need for sunscreen with zinc oxide as well as a wide-brimmed hat along with other skin saving tips.”

Linda also shares her thoughts about her favorite Coolibar Travel Sun Shirt and sun protection accessories she uses. Strolling the sands of Malibu, hiking the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains, river rafting and horseback riding, I need strong sun protection. I am thrilled to have this ‘Sunsational’ Coolibar Travel Sun Shirt in my wardrobe. It is light as a summer’s breeze and is sophisticated enough for street wear, but sturdy enough for outdoor activities. I live in Southern California and spend a good deal of time at the beach or hiking on the trails. This shirt is perfect for my sunny clime,” says Linda.

Linda Ballou, Expert Travel Writer

We asked for Linda’s opinion on our aire SUNTECT® fabric, which her shirt is constructed with. “My favorite feature of the fabric is the light airy feel. Plus it needs no ironing after washing. I’m glad a fabric that makes me feel so feminine can stand up to the rigors of an active outdoor life. I would give the fabric a 10 (on a scale of 10 being great to 0 being horrible) for hot weather hiking. For cool weather, I might opt for my flannel shirt, but that does not have sun protection. The fabric also didn’t stick to my skin like polyester tends to.”

“Other sun protection accessories I use include a hat and sometimes fingerless gloves. I love my Sedona Hat. It is sturdy and wide-brimmed and really does keep the burning rays off my face. The chin strap keeps in on in the strongest winds. The fingerless gloves are just the ticket for river rafting when hands take a beating from wind, sun and water. You do not lose mobility while gaining much needed protection against the elements,” says Linda.

To read more about Linda Ballou’s adventures, visit her blog and website.

 http://lindaballoutalkingtoyou.blogspot.com/

http://www.lindaballouauthor.com/

To view the sun protection items Linda takes on her adventures, click any of the following links:

Coolibar Women’s Travel Sun Shirt
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Coolibar Sedona Sun Hat
Coolibar Fingerless Aqua Gloves

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SunAWARE Videos

Does a Tan Make you More Beautiful?

According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Dermatology, the answer is “yes” for many teens and young adults in the United States.  When asked if they think people look more attractive with a tan, a large percentage of respondents (66 percent) answered yes, especially indoor tanners (87 percent).

The survey found that a vast majority (86 percent) of Caucasian teen girls and young women who tan indoors do so for the sake of vanity despite knowing the health risks.  Young Australians, on the contrary, have begun to shift their perceptions on beauty and tanning.

The Aussie tan is officially no longer cool. At least not among the 12-17 year old age group who’ve grown up with the slip, slop, slap message.  New research by the Cancer Council has revealed young Australians are rapidly changing their attitude towards tanning, with fewer than ever seeking the bronzed look.  The council’s national sun protection survey conducted last summer shows the preference for a suntan among 12-17-year-olds has steadily dropped to 45%, proof that a public health campaign can be effective.

Below is the well-known Australian Slip!Slop!Slap! advertisement from the Cancer Council Victoria with Sid the Seagull, launched in the 1980’s. Just say these simple words – slip, slop, slap. Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.

 

 

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Educate Others Events Inside Coolibar

Help Us Give the Gift of Sun Protection Education

Sun protective habits developed in childhood promote a lifetime of healthy skin. Giving a child the gift of sun protection education is as easy as ‘liking’ the Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing Facebook page. For every Coolibar Facebook page ‘like’ (a.k.a. fan) we receive in December, we’ll donate a SunAWARE book to the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation

‘Like’ us now to give a child a SunAWARE children’s book and help support our cause! Just click the ‘like’ button below.

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Inside Coolibar Sun Protection Clothing What's Hot

2011 Coolibar Gift Guide for Life Outdoors

QUESTION: Do you need to find a gift for …

a. A family member who spends a lot of time outside?

b. A girlfriend who obsesses over her skin and owns oodles of cosmetics?

c. A parent with small children?

d. A friend who lives to garden, bike, hike, climb, fish, run, walk, camp, swim, surf, golf, farm, surf, sail, travel and participate in a never ending list of outdoor activities?

If you answered YES to any of the above then we strongly suggest you proceed reading!

While the holiday season may not have you thinking about sunny beaches and or long afternoons on the golf course, we’ll bet everyone on your list would love a gift that’s associated with that carefree feeling. Sun protection is a gift everyone needs (and we’re convinced would want if they knew about it). Wide brim hats and sun protective clothes are not only practical for easy sun coverage, but over the years, these items have been recognized by both fashion editors and outdoor athletic communities for their style and performance. So, maybe not everyone on your list knows about sun protective clothing. Well, here’s your chance to show the one’s you love how smart and thoughtful you are.  Sun protective clothing is not only easy, comfortable and a health conscious move, but there are a range of styles and features so fashionistas and fitness enthusiasts alike can take on the outdoors in their own style.

If you don’t know where to start for a someone who’s new to UPF clothing, here’s our ideas:

Our Customer’s Favorite Coolibar Basics
Click on the first image to browse our gift ideas.

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Find the perfect Coolibar piece for that special person on your list.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

www.coolibar.com

Santa Letter Photo Credit: katerha

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Success Stories Wellness Warriors

Thankful for the Chance to Spread an Important Message

Duane Braswell is a recent skin cancer survivor whom is thankful for many things this holiday season. After being diagnosed with both basal cell carcinoma and melanoma in August 2011 and having his cancer cells successfully excised, he came to the conclusion that there is not enough awareness around the dangers of skin cancer. With the support of his family, friends and outside donors, Duane has arranged to complete a 2,500 mile bike circuit starting in Phoenix, AZ and ending in Washington, DC to raise awareness and money for skin cancer research.

Duane’s story:

I was diagnosed in August 2011 with several basal cell carcinoma cancers and melanoma. What a shock to hear the word “cancer” and your name in the same sentence! This is something everyone knows can happen, but we never expect it will happen to us.

Prior to the cancer I only wore a hat and sunscreen if I remembered or thought I would be outside for an extended period of time. When we were  kids, we just dealt with sunburns and didn’t think twice about it. After all of the cancerous cells were cut out in mid-October, I now wear my hat almost everywhere I go – plus it looks good anyway!

The biggest hit was realizing that even though I made my family a priority over my career, I still did not realize how fragile life is and how precious my time with my family is. The hardest thing was looking at my kids and thinking I might not be there for their children or even my youngest child’s graduation. I had never considered these things before my diagnosis, when I was ignoring my mole and ‘spots.’

Now, I am looking forward to spending five weeks with my son going cross country and showing him how great people are to visit and talk with. We leave May 13, 2012 from Phoenix and will arrive in Washington DC at the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) center by the end of June. We will be traveling 2,500 miles; enjoying our time together and sharing with others the importance of covering up in the sun and wearing a hat. We hope to raise $10,000 for the MRF through exposure on TV, radio as well as the internet. Both my son and I want to hear someone went and got checked for skin cancer because we talked to them.

After the ‘cancer’ scare, my oldest daughter had two moles removed when visiting the dermatologist. She told me it would be foolish to miss out on life because of something so small. Hers moles were VERY early and required no stitches. Mine were nearly too late and required over 60 stitches that we could count. It is so easy to prevent skin cancer, and so costly if we do not.

– Duane Braswell

P.S. My doctor recommended your products to me and I really love them.

Check back in May for a trip update!

Duane posing in his Coolibar gear with the bike that will be accompanying him on a 2,500 mile ride to raise funds for melanoma research
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Parenting What's Hot

A Skin Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

Did you know the expression ‘you are what you eat’ is true to a certain extent? While it’s well known that your overall health can be impacted by diet, your outward appearance, skin in particular, is greatly affected by everything you put into your body as well. With Thanksgiving dinner being less than a week away, you are probably already cooking up ideas for your family’s menu. If you’re hosting this year’s Thanksgiving feast, take a second look at your grocery list before heading off to the super market. If you want to keep your skin looking healthy and naturally glowing throughout the holidays, fill yourself with food and nutrients your skin, and body, will love.

Evidence from a study at the University of Nottingham that was released last year shows eating nutrient rich fruits and vegetables that contain beta-carotene gives skin a healthy golden glow. The study also showed people found this healthy glow to be more attractive than a tan obtained from UV rays, which can cause skin cancer and premature aging. Beta-carotene is a member of the carotenoids, which are highly pigmented (red, orange, yellow), fat-soluble compounds naturally present in many fruits, grains, oils, and vegetables. It is also an antioxidant that helps reduce damaging compounds produced by daily stress. Beta carotene is not only good for immune system and reproductive health, but it’s the key to healthy glowing skin.

Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey, a board certified dermatologist with a private dermatology practice in Sonoma County, is a huge advocate of eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables to keep skin looking great. According to Dr. Bailey, not only are fresh fruits and veggies good for a glowing appearance, but by eating these more than dairy, carbohydrates and junk food, other skin problems such as acne can improve as well. Dr. Bailey also recommends purchasing fresh and organic when able because fresh and organically grown produce contains more nutrients. “Eating your fruits and veggies really fresh is key, because beta carotene is fragile and gets lost when the fruits or veggies are processed or stored,” writes Dr. Bailey in her blog post Skip The Tan & Eat Your Veggies For Beautiful Skin Color. Dr. Bailey suggests eating beta carotene foods with a little fat or oil to absorb the beta carotene better.

According to Dr. Bailey, foods high in Beta Carotene include:

Yellow/orange vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash

Dark green and/or leafy vegetables: kale, broccoli, spinach, collard greens, turnips and their green leaves, beet leaves, mustard and dandelion greens, watercress, cilantro, chicory, endive, escarole

Yellow/orange fruits: apricots, cantaloupes, papayas, mangoes, nectarines, peaches

Also: summer squash, asparagus, peas, sour cherries, prune plums

To add a little healthy ‘color’ to your Thanksgiving meal, try some new healthy recipes that are spin-offs of classic holiday dishes. Create most of the recipe with fresh ingredients that will make your skin radiant. While it may not be realistic to forgo some of your favorite less than healthy dishes, try substituting or adding a few of these fresh options and eating smaller portions of processed foods.

Skin Healthy Dishes:

Acorn squash with apples

Maple roasted sweet potatoes

Quinoa salad with roasted sweet potatoes, kale, dried cranberries and red onion

Orzo super salad

Salad greens with pears, fennel and walnuts

Sweet carrots

Skin Healthy Deserts:

Almond and cherry upside-down cake

Healthy pumpkin pie (also see recipe for fresh pumpkin puree)

If you give any of these a try be sure to let us know how it was.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo credit: Californiacondor

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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School sun safety Wellness Warriors

Mission Possible: Protecting Kids from the Sun

Sun protection is a passionate subject for many people who have been impacted by cancer. Ellery, a high school freshman and Girl Scout, has been involved in fundraisers for treatments and cures of cancers. For the past year, Ellery has been working hard to earn her Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest award a Girl Scout can earn, which gives girls the chance to show their dedication to improving the community. Now, Ellery has made it her mission to help educate young students and school officials about sun protection and show them that it’s possible to effectively, and inexpensively, protect students from the sun’s harmful UV rays during outdoor recess and activities.

From Ellery:

When I was starting to think about my Girl Scout Silver Award project, I decided to do something to focus on prevention of disease such as cancer. Living in sunny California, and because I am a swimmer and in the sun a lot, I decided to focus on sun-safety awareness. In my research, I learned that sun exposure related cancers can sometimes be prevented with good sun protection beginning at a young age. The Environmental Protection Agency says that unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light, a known human carcinogen, is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Of course, there are risk factors which cannot be controlled, and some people will get skin cancer regardless. I wanted my project to focus on prevention and be different from fund raising programs that I had been involved in. Through my research on sun-safety, I learned that in much of Australia, school kids are required to wear sun-hats as part of their school uniform. I thought this was a really smart idea, because it teaches kids to be aware of the sun’s effects at an early age, and it helps them with the one aspect of skin cancer we can control – sun exposure.

Students Wearing Their Coolibar Sun Hats

I developed a test case, called “Hats for Mates”, to see if it’s feasible for the kids here in Folsom to wear sun hats at recess. Fortunately, the principal at Folsom Hills Elementary School agreed to let me do my project at Folsom Hills. With private donations and affordable sun protective hats from the Coolibar School Sun Hat Program, Mrs. Hardy’s and Mr. Garcia’s kindergarten class received sun hats for their 32 students to use for the test. On the first day I presented a poster board with different sun safety activities to the kids and made a sun safety speech to the kindergarten class. After the presentation, I gave the kids their own sun hats to wear for all of following week. The student’s families were very supportive, and the only concern they raised was regarding sharing hats and lice. I addressed this by having one hat per student, with their name on it and having each student store their hat in their cubbies.

School staff were curious to find out if the hats would be a distraction on the playground. I went back to the school the following week to check up on the class. I asked them questions about the week, such as who wore the hats on the first day, who liked to wear them and why. Only three out of thirty-two kids did not like wearing the hats. The yard duty staff said there were no problems and the kids controlled the hats. The staff in the office also said there were no complaints or negative comments from the kid’s parents or other staff members. The school principal said “Ellery’s project shows that a sun-hat program in our schools is feasible and makes sense in a sunny climate like ours”. The Hats for Mates week at Folsom Hills was a success and showed that a hat program could work in public schools in Folsom.

-Ellery

Learn more about the Coolibar School Sun Hat Program

Ellery Teaching Kindergarten Class About Sun Protection
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SunAWARE

Does the Ozone Hole Affect Your Health?

In the upper atmosphere, about 6 to 30 miles above Earth, naturally occurring ozone protects life from the sun’s ultraviolet B radiation (UVB). This is known as the stratospheric ozone. Over decades, it has been damaged by cumulative pollutants including motor vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions, gasoline vapors, chemical solvents as well as natural sources. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), nontoxic, nonflammable chemicals containing atoms of carbon, chlorine, and fluorine, which were once used as refrigerants and in spray cans, have been pinned as the main culprit. Over the past 20 years, a significantly depleted layer of ozone known as the ozone hole has formed over the Antarctic. This ozone loss imposes a serious health threat for humans, in particular our skin and eyes.

“The more damage there is to the ozone layer, the more UVB rays that reach our bodies,” claims Dr. Herman and Dr. Newman, atmospheric physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Both UVB rays and UVA rays cause DNA damage in the skin that can lead to skin cancer, premature skin aging, cataracts and other eye conditions. Exposure over time can also weaken the immune system. The good news is that world political and environmental leaders are working together to address this issue.

Since 1987, over 150 nations have gradually signed the Montreal Protocol, which now prohibits the production of ozone-depleting CFCs. After over two decades of international collaborations to restore Earth’s sun protective layer, studies are showing a gradual decrease in harmful CFC levels in the atmosphere. Presently, the ozone hole is no longer expanding and evidence suggests it’s on the mend.  According to Dr. Herman and Dr. Newman, scientists currently estimate that stratospheric ozone levels in the northern mid-latitudes will recover by 2050 and polar levels by 2065, which could significantly reduce the incidence of ultraviolet radiation exposure health related issues for future generations.

It will take time for the stratospheric ozone to recover. Luckily, we  have options to protect our skin, eyes and health by taking a holistic approach to sun protection starting today. SunAWARE’s advice: First, avoid unprotected UV exposure and seek shade when possible. Keep in mind that UV doesn’t flow in one direction. It is able to bounce off surfaces, molecules and particles, so even when you’re under an umbrella, UV can still reach you.  Second, wear sun protective clothing, wide-brim sun hats and UV sunglasses. These items are your best defense to keep UV from penetrating your skin and eyes. Next, apply SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen everywhere clothing doesn’t cover. This practice should be included into your daily regimen in order to decrease the repercussions of cumulative UV skin damage. Finally, routinely check your skin for suspicious changes and see a dermatologist if you notice anything. Pass on this wisdom and educate others about the need for sun protection.

Resources:

http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/news/2011/november-2011/01/uv-index-replaced-by-alert.aspx

http://www.epa.gov/glo/

http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/10/21/scientist-speaks-out-after-finding-record-ozone-hole-over-canadian-arctic/

http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/aqtrnd95/stratoz.html

http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/facts/hole.html

http://www.skincancer.org/ozone-and-uv-where-are-we-now.html

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