May is Melanoma Awareness Month and in an effort to educate the community, the Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation has selected Glen Ridge High School as the site for a free skin screening for students and faculty on Thursday, May 19.
This unique opportunity is part of a larger awareness campaign about the importance of prevention and the early detection of melanoma and other skin cancers. After hosting two very successful skin screenings at Montclair High School, the Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation (RFMF) wanted to expand its reach into neighboring communities.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to raise our students’ awareness of melanoma and other skin cancers and were thrilled to be selected by the Foundation for the skin screening,” says Glen Ridge High School Principal Dirk Phillips. “We want to teach our students about the importance of taking care of themselves. This includes taking the necessary precautions to prevent skin cancer,” he says.
The event will run from noon to 3 pm on Thursday, May 19 and is open to all GRHS faculty, staff and students in grades 7-12.
Students and staff will have the opportunity to learn about proper sunscreen application, gather tips and information, and then will be treated to favor bags and treats. Privacy pods will be set up in the gym and all exams will be conducted by a medical team led by Dr. Daniel Groisser of The Dermatology Group. Dr. Groisser is a Board certified Dermatologist and Medical Director of the RFMF. The RFMF is asking for students to pre-register for screening appointments by logging onto www.rayfesta.org.
“The students at Glen Ridge High School take matters about their health pretty seriously so I am hoping for a great turn-out at the screening,” says RFMF student liaison and GRHS junior Olivia Mason. “I want to make sure my friends and classmates use sunscreen and learn about protecting our skin—now and in the future,” Mason says. To encourage participation, Mason and her team of student volunteers have been walking the halls with stickers that read, “Got Skin? Get Screened.”
According to the Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation, 1 in 150 people will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and about 48,000 will die from melanoma in the United States. “The numbers are staggering and since there is no known cure for this form of cancer, the best defense is early detection,” says Teri Festa, RFMF executive director. Unfortunately, melanoma strikes people as young as 12 years old, according to the Foundation, and is more prevalent in those who have extended exposure to the sun. “Teens are a particularly vulnerable group since our children spend a lot of time outdoors socializing, playing sports and tanning. Educating teens about the proper use of sunscreen will enable them to make smart choices about time spent in the sun,” Festa says.
GRHS Principal Phillips sees this event as a great first step on the path to healthy living. “We are urging all our students and staff to participate in this screening. Hopefully this is a big step for the members of GRHS community to develop healthy practices that will lead to a happy and skin cancer free life,” he says.
(Photo: Student volunteer Cooper Mason and Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation student liaison Olivia Mason will be on hand to assist their fellow Glen Ridge High School classmates during the May 19th skin screening.)