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Inside Coolibar

Coolibar’s Visit to Camp Discovery

Coolibar had the pleasure of spending a day at the American Academy of Dermatology’s Camp Discovery on June 25. Camp Discovery offers youth with skin conditions the opportunity to spend a week among young people who have similar skin conditions — free of charge.

Camp Knutson in Crosslake, MN  is one of six AAD Camp Discovery locations. Coolibar volunteers passed out sun hats, UPF 50+ swim shirts and UV goggles to the children and counselors in attendance. Coolibar also donated sun protective hats to all Camp Discovery locations, providing sun hats to 350 kids.

Check out our album below from our road trip to Camp Discovery.

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Wellness Warriors

Seeing Beyond my Vitiligo

Karl Dunbar can still recall the first day white spots began to appear on his skin.

“I was in seventh grade and my vitiligo started to appear on my right hand (on my thumb) and over my right eye,” says Dunbar. “At first, I tried to hide it by wearing gloves.” During high school and his early college years, his vitiligo became more apparent. “If you said anything about my skin we had to fight,” says Dunbar.

Vitiligo is a chronic disease that causes a loss of pigment in areas of the skin. People of all ages and from all ethnic backgrounds can develop the disease. Vitiligo does not cause physical symptoms and is not contagious, but it can have a significant impact both psychologically and socially.

“When I was younger I used to wonder how I would look if I didn’t have it,” he says.

Now the defensive line coach for the New York Jets (former defensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings) Dunbar sees he is defined by what he does, not by his appearance. “There’s not a whole bunch of us [people living with vitiligo] doing this,’’ he says. “I just hope that everything that I do, I get judged by what I do — not by how I look.”

Dunbar’s coaching record proves that he has not let his appearance hold him back. Dunbar is credited with having built one of the most stout run defenses in the league over the past several years. The Vikings lead the league in rush defense from 2006–2008 and ranked second in 2009. He also coached perennial Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen. The Vikings ranked in the Top 10 in total defense from 2008–2010.

On top of being a coach in the National Football League, Dunbar also thinks of himself as a wellness coach and hopes to raise awareness for vitiligo and help the general public understand more about the disease.

“If vitiligo starts at a young age, it can be damaging to a young person’s self-esteem,” says Dunbar. “Over time, I’ve grown to deal with the people’s view on vitiligo and things they don’t understand. By getting this out [the message about what vitiligo is] I hope to help kids dealing with this skin condition not go into a shell, but thrive in their social growth.”

“It’s the old saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,” says Dunbar.

Coolibar sun protective clothing has the great fortune to be working with Karl Dunbar to help him spread the word about vitiligo and the importance of sun protection. “Those with vitiligo need to take caution in the sun because skin burns quicker and easier,” says Dunbar. Sun protection products such as UPF 50+ clothing, which Karl wears during training season and games, can prevent over-exposure to the sun’s UV rays that can lead to health problems down the road. Everyone of every ethnic background should use sun protection, including clothing, a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses, as a part of healthy living.

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SunAWARE

Coolibar’s Official Sun Education Message – SunAWARE

We often say “Be SunAWARE” at Coolibar, but we’ve never taken the time to explain its place within our company and why we use it. SunAWARE is a non-profit sun education organization that provides the most up-to-date sun protection tips and skin cancer news. It’s also an acronym that helps people prevent and detect skin cancers. At Coolibar, we have adopted SunAWARE as our official sun education message as it’s easy to remember and easy to follow.

About SunAWARE

SunAWARE is based on the acronym created in the book Sun Protection For Life: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy and Beautiful Skin, by Mary Mills Barrow and John F.Barrow (New Harbinger Publications, 2005).  The book won the Gold Triangle Award from the American Academy of Dermatology in 2005 for excellence in public education of dermatologic issues.

The SunAWARE acronym was created after an exhaustive review of educational material produced by the major organizations and foundations specializing in skin cancer prevention.  And, it was edited by Craig Sinclair who originated the very successful “Skip Slop Slap” sun protection campaign in Australia. It should also be noted that SunAWARE is endorsed by several leading not-for-profit organizations in the skin cancer community including the Children’s Melanoma Foundation and the Melanoma International Foundation.

The acronym was created to meet the twin goals of developing a comprehensive framework for organizing key points about the prevention and detection of skin cancer and, creating a useful, proactive and easy-to-remember slogan that can be used by any organization and individual.

For the most up-to-date sun protection tips and skin cancer news, visit www.sunaware.org.

Be SunAWARE and be Safe!

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Inside Coolibar

Helping those with Albinism and Cancer Patients in Tanzania

A few months ago, Coolibar employee Ben Socwell was sitting down to dinner at Dr. Michael T. Nelson’s home, a long-time family friend, when the conversation turned to Coolibar sun protective clothing and the East Africa Medical Assistance Foundation (EAMAF). Dr. Nelson is a Professor of Radiology and a Board Member of EAMAF, a Minnesota based nonprofit dedicated to supporting and enhancing radiology services (cancer treatment) at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC).  KCMC is a 500-bed teaching hospital at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and is the site of the first radiology residency in the country. In Tanzania, the sun is unrelenting and people have little escape from it. There are also very high rates of skin cancer among Africans, especially for those who suffer with albinism (a deficit of melanin production that results in little or no pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes and makes skin ultra sensitive to the sun).  After their conversation over dinner, Ben returned to work with a mission to help find sun protection relief for patients at the center.

“After my dinner with Dr. Nelson, I invited him to tour the Coolibar building and look at the items we sell,” says Ben. “To my surprise Dr. Diefenthal, the creator and head of the department of radiology at KCMC in Tanzania, was in town and came with us, along with Dr. Shavon Flanagan who teaches at Northwestern and has worked at KCMC in the past. We talked at length about the technology of our fabrics and the goals and intent of Coolibar. They were impressed with our fabric technology and our focus on getting Coolibar products into the hands of medical professionals,” says Ben.

As they say, the rest is history. Approximately 800 sun protective items were shipped to Tanzania in October with the help of Global Health Ministries in Fridley, MN who arranges the safe arrival of the EAMAF supply containers in Africa. Among the variety of garments were also 300 hats. “The EAMAF believes the Tanzanian women suffering from albinism will especially benefit from the large brims,” says Ben. The items should be arriving any day now and will be given to the dermatologists who service local villages to be distributed to those in need.

“As you can read on the EAMAF website or in the brochure, Dr. Diefenthal is an amazing man who has not only devoted his life to radiology and the detection and treatment of cancer, but has done much of this work in Africa, including starting the EAMAF,” says Ben. “In the picture below are Dr. Diefenthal and Dr. Flanagan and myself during their tour of Coolibar’s headquarters.”

From left: Ben, Dr. Diefenthal, Dr. Flanagan

Thanks to Ben for making the world a more SunAWARE place!

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Educate Others SunAWARE

A New Year’s Resolution with a Cause

While you may already have a personal goal in mind to accomplish in 2012, have you thought about creating a New Year’s Resolution that can have a profound impact on others as well? Over 58 thousand people in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin in 2007 (the most recent year statistics are available) and the number continues to rise (Center for Disease Control). You, just one person, can help lower the rate people are being diagnosed with melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and save lives. This year, consider giving back by getting involved in a race for the cure, fundraise for melanoma research, or hold an event to help educate others about skin cancer and prevention. Our friends at Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) have some suggestions to help you get started. Go ahead – set out to accomplish something BIG this year!

People often make cause related resolutions at the new year, particularly after the holidays when they feel the loss of a loved one more deeply. Often the individual will contact MRF directly with a statement along the lines of “I recently lost someone and I want to do something to help.

The MRF is uniquely available to fill that need for those who lost someone to melanoma or for those who are currently battling it. The MRF has several event based programs that allow people to join our community and raise funds for research. What is attractive to the individual is that they become part of a larger group who can make a bigger impact. As one it’s hard to feel like you’re making a difference, but when you join a group that ultimately has nearly 10,000 participants a year, and raises nearly $2 million a year, then you know you’ve made a difference.

Our participants take on challenges from the simple to the extreme. Many join us at our 5k Miles For Melanoma walks. Many of them will do some fundraising of their own, but most will join us to help with awareness and provide a sense of community. The more people we have at these events, the more we can make people aware of the need for sun safety and prevention.

Other participants might take on more daunting challenges – running a marathon, racing in a triathlon, riding their bike across the U.S. and more. These folks all become fundraisers and bring in an average of $1200 or more.

We also have supporters who focus on awareness and education activities – they often take their own time to reach out to school groups and businesses to educate them about the importance of getting a skin cancer screening, using sunscreen and promoting a better understanding of the seriousness of melanoma. It’s not “just” skin cancer. The MRF relies on our advocates and messengers to provide this valuable information to their communities.

Carolyn Edrington
Melanoma Research Foundation

Perseverance is key to reach your goal. You can achieve great things if you are focused and motivated.  Taking on a cause related resolution by yourself can be a daunting task, so create a plan to accomplish your goals and set milestones, track your progress and keep a positive ‘can do’ attitude. Make 2012 your greatest year yet!

Happy New Year!

Coolibar

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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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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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Wellness Warriors

OneVillage Partners in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone, located in West Africa, is one of the poorest nations in the world. While mineral, agricultural and fishery resources are abundant, its physical and social infrastructure have not fully recovered from the civil war that ended in 2002, and social disorder has hindered economic development. Coolibar’s friends at OneVillage Partners, a Minneapolis, MN based non-profit, have been working with people in Eastern Sierra Leone since 2006 to provide assistance to rural villages and stimulate growth within these deprived communities.

From Paul Vliem at OneVillage Partners:

OneVillage Partner’s goal is to identify a model of rural development that, simply put, works. In order to be successful, OneVillage works in partnership alongside villagers to transform problems into solutions. We provide access to information and technology not easily available in Sierra Leone, while the villagers drive their own development by identifying their own needs and possible solutions. Our partners live on less than a dollar a day with limited food, so we find an appropriate balance between relieving the immediate need and suffering while delivering programs that focus on longer term growth and empowerment. We pride ourselves on collaboration rather than management or oversight and seek to develop the organizational management capacity of our Sierra Leonean staff to work in full partnership.

Many development organizations operate short-term with specific and actionable projects, which although important, are rarely able to create long-term, improved quality of life for their beneficiaries due to their piecemeal nature. For this reason, OVP strives to be holistic and comprehensive by investing simultaneously across areas which greatly affect village life. We operate in the five distinct yet mutually-reinforcing areas of water and sanitation, health, education, agriculture, and income generation. Growth in one area undoubtedly affects success in another area. For example, with greater crop yields households are better able to practice nutrition, which results in healthier children who are better able to concentrate in school.

OVP is building 75 compost latrines in three villages to cut down on infectious disease

We invest in the essential building blocks of an economy – micro business loans, agricultural improvements, secondary education, and global connections – that allow villagers to increase their income.  Throughout our work, we strategically implement and rigorously evaluate our investments to achieve measurable results. Through this approach, OVP is working with villages to create tangible, positive impact that sets the groundwork for continued, sustained development in each of these communities.

Learn more about OneVillage Partnership’s work and opportunities at http://www.onevillagepartners.org/.

OVP and Coolibar continually work together to protect the volunteers helping the rural village of Sierra Leone by providing sun protective clothing to protect skin from Africa’s intense sun.

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About OneVillage Partners Video

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SunAWARE Videos

Check Me Out! Jaguars and MRF Fight Melanoma

Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and worldwide according to the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF). Raising awareness about melanoma can save lives, and catching it early is crucial. In an effort to get the word out to a massive audience, on October 9th the MRF teamed up with the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team to hold a Melanoma Awareness Day during the big game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Throughout the game, over 300 volunteers handed out 50,000 stadium cups with the phrase, “Make a Great Catch!  Spotting melanoma early can save a life!” The cups were filled with sunscreen and skin cancer prevention literature.  Print ads in the game-day book, electronic ads on all the videos in the stadium, and promotions on radio enforced the importance of checking skin regularly. The Jaguars also provided Jacksonville Melanoma, an affiliate of the MRF, $10 for each ticket sold through its website, www.jacksonvillemelanoma.org.

The efforts of all involved in the melanoma awareness event proved to be gratifying almost instantaneously as one father of a 20 year-old girl sought after the MRF team at the event for advice. He wanted to know how to approach his daughter regarding seeing a dermatologist to get a suspicious mole checked.  He believed the mole appeared after his daughter badly burned from using a tanning bed twice in one session, which he said has caused her to have negative skin reactions in the sun. A rep from the MRF told him, “Do whatever it takes to get your daughter to the doctor to get the spot checked out”.  More on this story can be found on the MRF blog.

While you may not have watched the game, you can still make a lifesaving catch. Check your skin and the skin of the ones you love.

MRF “Check Me Out!” Slideshow. Please note there is no sound.

The ABCDE’s of Melanoma

Provided by the MRF.

A – Asymmetrical Shape
Melanoma lesions are typically irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.

B – Border
Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define.

C – Color
The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.

D – Diameter
Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).

E – Evolution
The evolution of your moles(s) has become the most important factor to consider when it comes to melanoma. Knowing what is normal for YOU could save your life. If a mole has gone through recent changes in color and or size, get it checked out by a dermatologist immediately.

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SunAWARE

SunAWARE Family Fun Day Fundraising Event

Last Saturday (8/27/11) my family and I attended the first ever SunAWARE fundraising event at Panino’s Sports Bar in North Oaks, MN. I wasn’t sure what to expect, it was after all, the first SunAWARE event.

We were met with welcoming smiles, pizza and cake. Who could ask for more? Our first stop was the silent auction table so I could get my “shop on.” It’s easy to justify this type of shopping when the funds are going to support a good cause, plus there was an amazing assortment of items to bid on, thanks to the generosity of many local businesses.

I anxiously awaited my turn to speak with Dermatologist Dr. Jaime Davis of Uptown Dermatology as she was graciously providing free skin checks. I had flashbacks of me tanning on rooftops with olive skin girlfriends who applied only Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil – Ouch! I perspired as I watched her examine the moles of a young gentleman ahead of me. Finally, it was my turn and I had to admit that I had never had a skin check before. Dr. Davis was shocked seeing as I have such fair skin. I’ll spare the details, but let’s just say I will never leave the house without sunscreen on my face, neck and decollage and vow to diligently protect the skin of my son, my husband and myself with clothing, hats and sunscreen.

When my visit with Dr. Davis was over, I could relax and enjoy the party. A great time was had by all and I learned it’s never too late to be SunAWARE! I even managed to win a couple of my auction bids.

Jennifer Annett
Coolibar Employee

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