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RBHS students learn skin protection

By Brandi Miller

For the FCT


With spring in full bloom and summer just on the horizon, you can bet suntans are on the minds of many people. A suntan, by either a tanning bed or laying out in the sun, is a popular thing, especially among teenagers.

Because of this, Red Bay High School recently had a presentation for grades 7-12 on the dangers of the sun on the skin. This presentation coincides with a grant Dr. Jacqueline Parsons has written to try and increase the shaded areas for students so they will not be exposed to as much sunlight and harmful UV rays while at school.

RBHS is hoping to be the recipient of the Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition Shade Structure Grant Program. The grant is for $15,000, and Mayor David Tiffin and the Red Bay City Council has graciously agreed to match the grant, making the total $30,000. This grant will be used to provide shade structures over existing playground equipment and outside eating areas. The structure’s primary purpose is to block the UV rays and help prevent skin cancer.

“Shade structures are needed at the school because the elementary students have to play in the direct sunlight, and the high school students have no shade to sit or stand under during break,” said Parsons.

RBHS principal Kenny Sparks recognized the week of March 14-18 as Skin Cancer Awareness Week on campus. Each morning, announcements were made by HOSA students stating facts about skin cancer. Along with the announcements, an informative presentation was held. Dr. Kay Hargett provided the educational information about detection of skin cancers.

“It was the goal of this educational endeavor to make the student body and faculty aware of the various forms of skin cancer and the impact it can have on your life,” said Hargett. “Another objective of the educational endeavor was the relay the importance of early detection of skin cancer through continual and ongoing observation of moles and skin lesions. If found early, skin cancers are 99 percent curable, but if not detected early, such as with melanoma, survival rate is 18 percent. Prevention of skin cancers was also relayed in the education through covering of the skin, wearing appropriate skin lotion with an SPF 15 or higher, use of wrap around sunglasses, hats, and limiting sun exposure between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.”

After the presentation, UV bracelets were distributed that students can wear to alert them when they are in danger from UV rays. Sparks said he feels positive about receiving the grant and is appreciative to all the teachers and students who played a part in the events.

Parsons, who worked with coalition member Emily K. Pauli, submitted the grant for review. The week was full of informative information that both Parsons and Hargett hope will remain on the minds of students this spring and summer. “Acquiring melanoma is a deadly price to pay for a tan,” said Hargett.