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Vermont Fifth-Grader Wins Sun Safety Poster Contest

Release Date: 05/19/2010
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – May 19, 2010) – A fifth-grade student from Springfield, Vt. has won a national sun safety poster contest for creating a poster to raise peoples’ awareness to protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet rays.

The student, Kayla Thibideau of Springfield, won the 2010 “SunWise with SHADE” poster contest because her poster received the most votes out of more than 20,000 votes cast on-line between April 16 and May 6. Her artwork shows various steps people can take to have fun while staying safe in the sun.

“Too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays is the main cause of skin cancer. The good news is with simple steps, you can protect yourself and your family from too much sun,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England regional office. “We applaud Kayla and all the other students who participated in this contest, because they are helping to educate people about these issues.”

Striking more than one million Americans every year, more people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined.

“Kayla is our ninth winner of the annual poster contest, and her creativity really shone through in her entry,” said Shonda Schilling, founder and president of the SHADE Foundation. “Her efforts, and those of the more than 11,000 other children from 38 states this year, have educated thousands of Americans about how to be safe in the sun.” Since the contest’s start eight years ago, more than 90,000 posters have been submitted.

Skin cancer is largely preventable; however, new cases of melanoma, the most deadly of skin cancers, continue to rise at a faster rate than the seven most common cancers. Further, every New England state except for Rhode Island is listed in the top 10 states of the U.S. with the highest incidence of skin cancer. Further, from 2001-2005, Vermont had the highest rate of new melanoma diagnoses in the U.S., which was 63 percent higher than the national average.

Protecting your skin from too much sun is easy. Remember to wear a shirt and hat, and use sunscreen and sunglasses.

The contest, co-sponsored by the SHADE Foundation of America, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and WeatherBug Schools, asks children to craft catchy messages to help educate the public about skin cancer. No EPA or taxpayer funds are used to pay for the prizes in the contest. This year, the grand prize in the sun safety poster contest is a trip to Disney World for Kayla and her family. She also wins a WeatherBug® Tracking Station and mimio® smart board for Elm Hill Elementary School in Springfield.

EPA’s SunWise Program is an environmental and health education program that teaches children and their caregivers how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun.

The SHADE Foundation of America is dedicated to the eradication of melanoma through the education of children and the community in the prevention and detection of skin cancer and the promotion of sun safety.

The WeatherBug Schools Program provides school teachers nationwide with a program allowing them to use current and historical weather conditions in interactive, online lessons and activities that use data from their own weather station or from any of the 8,000 weather stations and 1,500 cameras on the WeatherBug Schools Network.

More information:

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EPA’s SunWise program (www.epa.gov/sunwise/)
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SHADE Foundation (www.shadefoundation.org)
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WeatherBug Schools (www.weatherbugschools.com)
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State-specific fact sheets (EPA and CDC) (www.epa.gov/sunwise/statefacts.html)

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