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Choosing to Live SunSmart: Your a-ha moments

5/15/2014

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Everyone has a story. A story about what defines them. A story about who or what inspires them. A story about what motivates them.

At Live SunSmart, we wanted to know what stories made people recognize the importance of sun safety, so we asked our social media communities. We were so inspired by everyone’s willingness to open up and share with us. The stories we received evoked every emotion and truly reinforced and refreshed our motivation to promote sun safety.

We asked: What was your sun safety “a-ha” moment? What made you realize the importance of sun safety?

"I think my “aha” moment was when a guy I graduated high school with was diagnosed with skin cancer in his early 20s. It made it real for me that skin cancer was serious and it could really happen to anyone. Now he’s such an advocate for sun safety, even while he enjoys spending time outdoors." - Melissa H.

"Being the color of chalk it's ALWAYS been a big deal. I just grew up that way" - Annie S.W.

"Learning about how my dad had a precancerous mole removed. He told me that it was partially due to sun exposure. He has really helped remind me of how important it is to wear sunscreen." - Lauren W.

"Seeing sunspots that no longer went away but seemed more visible each year." - Kris A.

"Seeing a young mother die from skin cancer." - Keri O.

"Being a redhead and fair skinned, I learned this lesson at a young age. I always hated taking the time to glob on sunscreen. It was greasy, smelled and I wanted to jump right into the fun. However, because of my stubbornness, I was burned so badly in Mexico my skin started peeling instantly. Having to sit out and watch my family partake in fun activities while I was soaking on ice was the wake up call for me to always, always, always wear sunscreen!" - Ashley S.

"After being diagnosed with Melanoma Skin Cancer." - Tanya L.

"Went to Myrtle Beach as a surprise trip, so no pre-warm trip planning. Went from 45 degrees or so to sunny and 80 on the beach! Laid out and just soaked it all in!! It was heaven until...well none of us wore sunscreen. I was so bad that the fronts of my legs blistered from ankle to knee. Needless to say I make a point of putting on sunscreen all the time now. From top to bottom." - Stacey T.H.

"My grandmother had melanoma, and when I was growing up, I was repeatedly told the story about how she was told by her doctor that she only had six months to live. That was when I was in elementary school, and she's still alive. My grandma talks about it often and likes to say how she scolds her doctor about it whenever she gets the chance, about how wrong he was and how he underestimated her will to survive. She's a tough old broad, and I'm not sure I'm as tough as she is, so I've always had the fear of melanoma to get me wearing sunscreen." - Shannon N.

"My family used to be competitive about who could get the best tan on vacation. We would compare tan lines before dinner and scoff at those who sat in the shade. Then I saw an old woman with worn, leather-looking skin sitting near us at the pool. I was 15 and looked way too much like her! Since then I wear SPF30 and sit in the shade. How silly is it to compete to look bad and be unhealthy?!" - Alyx G.

What is your story? Share with us in the comments below, on Facebook or via Twitter.

Image Copyright: Max Topchii/Shutterstock