People from all over the world have reached out in the last few days. Some are other concerned parents, some have lost loved ones and some face their own battle with skin cancer. Then there are some who just feel like policy revision is the right thing. I wanted so share some of their stories with you and thank everyone who has written to me in support:
I’m so sorry to hear about your children, but also happy to see you taking public action on this issue. I have a similar story to share with you.
We moved to Los Angeles from Chicago a year ago. In Chicago, our daughter’s pre-school applied sunblock on every kid before they went outside. Seemed pretty logical. However, when we enrolled our daughter at her new pre-school in LA, we were told of the exact same doctor’s note policy. We were also told that she could not wear a hat because of a fear of lice.
I’m sure most parents wouldn’t be quite as cognizant of the dangers of the sun as us, and wouldn’t put too much thought into these policies. However, five years ago I was diagnosed with a Stage 2 Melanoma. Luckily, it was caught before it spread. But the episode has made my wife and I very vigilant about keeping our daughter out of the sun (she is already developing her share of atypical moles). We went straight to her doctor to get the note about the sunscreen, which included an order for her to wear a hat.
Please continue your work on changing these absurd policies. If I can be of any assistance, don’t hesitate to contact me.
I must admit that my first thought upon reading the news article about your battle with government representatives / school officials was “oh great, another misguided parent who lacks accountability to provide their kids with simple preventative care…” But after reading your full thoughts, I have certainly seen the other side of the coin. My condolences to you and others in your area that such ignorant policies existing the books, such that school officials won’t exercise a bit of common sense. I also felt bad for Karen Klein, who was in the news recently for being bullied as a bus monitor. And while I donated a small amount of money to the cause, I also wonder how a person in a position of authority does not act sensibly when they are paid for the prospect of preventative action. Doing nothing, as we can see from the examples of your children burning and Karen receiving continued belittlement, results in people getting hurt. America’s school officials at many levels continue to surprise me with their lack of common sense and their “duty” to take taxpayer money while doing as little as possible.
I am so sorry to read about your family’s story, but as I learned recently, things happen for a reason… Though a sunburn is a painful thing, the major consequence of a bad sunburn is this: experts say that even one blistering burn can double the risk of developing melanoma, an often lethal form of skin cancer.You only need to do a search of “melanoma” to see how aggressive and deadly this form of skin cancer is. Many are unaware of it’s danger.
I was one of those people….
I am not writing to scare you in any way. I’m hoping that through this unfortunate event that happened to your daughters that awareness can be made about the importance of sun protection, and not just to prevent a bad sunburn, but also to prevent a death. Please keep pushing for rules to be changed in your school district – hopefully other districts will follow. There NEEDS to be sun protection education for students! I’ve always felt that people make the best decisions with the facts they know at the time. But when more facts are known, different decisions can be made….
I was recently diagnosed with melanoma (at age 57) and hope to prevent it in others. One of the most compelling blogs I’ve read recently is from Chelsea Price. Her blog is called Adventures with My enemy – Melanoma. Please check it out. She is a mid-twenties young woman, suffering from the consequences of tanning bed use. She has made it a mission in life to educate others about melanoma prevention.
Hopefully, all of us can make a difference.
In Australia it is illegal for teachers to take students outside without a hat with a back flap over their neck.
Thanks for raising awareness of sun protection with your story! I have skin cancer and my mother died of melanoma.
Edited to add a few pictures of the girls and their healing progress:
Zoe’s shoulders are less painful but still pretty awful to behold.
And here’s Violet at her recent graduation. Face is still pink, but definitely not as angry.