Friday, May 17, 2024

Lake Cowichan to get free sunscreen dispensers as part of pilot program


The Town of Lake Cowichan will be getting six free sunscreen dispensers as a part of a pilot program which aims to make sun safety more accessible and fight skin cancer.

The Save Your Skin Foundation is leading the charge and has partnered with 10 municipalities and organizations from BC to PEI. Lake Cowichan is the only Vancouver Island location to benefit from the project.

The sunscreen dispensers look remarkably similar to the hand sanitizer stations which people became so accustomed to throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They are mounted on a post or wall, and when a hand is placed under a sensor, 30 SPF sunscreen is dispensed. 

These six dispensers coming to Lake Cowichan will be installed throughout the township as well as Gordon Bay Provincial Park. They will help residents and visitors alike avoid sunburns and ultimately reduce their chances of skin cancer. 

“Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers and also one of the most preventable,” said Dr. Sunil Kalia, Dermatologist and Chair of Sun Safe BC. 

“Increasing the availability and accessibility of sun safety protections, such as sunscreen, in a variety of recreational and occupational settings can help reduce the risk for skin cancer.”

Save Your Skin Foundation began this project in 2022, which saw four municipalities install their dispensers throughout town and this year they are up to 10 cities and organizations.

The organization is a nation-wide patient-led non-profit organization which has been involved in advocacy for melanoma and other forms of skin cancer since 2006. They help Canadians with matters of prevention, diagnosis and survivorship of skin cancer.

“Studies show that young people still aren’t taking sun safety seriously despite incidence rates rising every year,” says Kathy Barnard, stage 4 melanoma survivor and Founder of Save Your Skin Foundation. 

“Skin cancer can be deadly, but it is also highly preventable.”

Keep an eye out in Lake Cowichan for the sunscreen dispensers which will be popping up around town soon.

Curtis Blandy

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