As we head into the end of spring and gear up for summer, it’s time to take the necessary steps to save our skin from the harmful effects of the sun. May is skin cancer awareness month and 24 Foundation urges you seek the shade to protect yourself from sunburn and safeguard yourself from skin cancer.
Skin cancer is a lifestyle disease that one in five Americans will develop in their lifetime. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer that affects 800,000 Americans, while more than 13 million Americans are living with a history of non melanoma skin cancer.
Long time 24 Foundation rider and organizer, Terry Hennessee is all too familiar with this disease. In 2010, Terry was diagnosed with Simple Basal Cell Carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. Terry’s diagnosis was due to years of sun damage, where the worst of his cancer affected his arms. He has undergone three different types of treatments to get rid of the precancerous cells, however, the cells keep returning, but Terry keeps fighting!
“It doesn’t take SPF 50 or SPF 100, just a simple SPF 30 thirty minutes before you go out in the sun to minimize your exposure,” Terry said. “The more times you suffer a sunburn, the more likely you are to be that one person. Take the time to put on sunscreen. Cover up. And take it easy on the tanning beds, especially for the young folks.”
At the 2013 24 Foundation of Charlotte, Terry sported sun sleeves to protect his arms. 24 Foundation has had a ripple effect on Terry and influenced him to further advocate for cancer awareness in the greater community.
“I have to thank Basil and 24 Foundation because they got me interested in LIVESTRONG and I am now in my third year as a LIVESTRONG leader in the community,” says Terry. “Being a leader has been very rewarding because it lets me get in front of folks who have been diagnosed to explain the resources that are available to them.”
As a LIVESTRONG leader, Terry has traveled to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill for Camp Kesem — a camp run by college students for children with a parent who has or have had cancer. At Camp Kesem, Terry presented information on skin cancer by showing photos and stating startling statistics. Terry hopes to be able to travel to high schools throughout North Carolina to educate young people about skin cancer and increase awareness, as well as participate in the grand tour of 24 Foundation events in the near future.
*Statistics from www.skincancer.org