As South Benders finally emerge from a cold, grey winter, I think many of us view the sun as a long lost friend finally gracing us with his presence after a long period of standoffish evasiveness. Yet, in the midst of rejoicing over the return of the prodigal sun, we tend to forget the hazards of excessive and unguarded association with our sorely missed companion. Last Wednesday, Colette Coyne, an activist from Long Island, NY, came to LaFortune's Montgomery Auditorium to remind students of these hazards.
Coyne's visit to Notre Dame was part of the Colette Coyne Melanoma Campaign. The goal of this campaign is to promote the awareness and prevention of skin cancer — especially melanoma, its most deadly form. On Wednesday, Coyne began with an impassioned story of the tragic death of her daughter Colette Marie, 30, at the hands of a melanoma that was not treated early and spread to her vital organs. According to Coyne, it was her daughter's death combined with a deeply felt religious calling that inspired the foundation of the campaign.
The Long Islander proceeded to emphasize that skin cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and projected to be the single most common cancer by 2020. According to Coyne, it claims one life every hour worldwide. The precautions for prevention are simple and obvious — wear broad-spectrum sunscreen, hats and sunglasses and avoid tanning beds — all simple steps that can greatly reduce the risk of skin cancer.
For my part, I would like first to thank the ladies of Howard Hall who hosted this event and to encourage them as they continue at the forefront of skin cancer awareness at Notre Dame. As part of this initiative, South Bend Clinic at 2102 E Inwood is offering free skin cancer testing from 9 a.m. to noon on April 30 by appointment only (574-204-6000). Also, watch out for Howard's Dunk the Duck later in April, which will support skin cancer related causes. Secondly, on behalf of Colette and your own bodies, I hope to spread the word to spread the suntan lotion, and, to women especially, I implore you not to put yourself at risk in the tanning salons. Let's not make this spring a bitter reunion with our brightly burning buddy.