Reducing the impact of melanoma
What started as a partnership to help local high school students sign a “No Tanning PROMise” turned into something so much more for our chapter.
Over the past few years, we have worked with Melanoma Know More (MKM), whose mission is to reduce the impact of melanoma by raising awareness, educating the public, supporting medical research, and providing assistance to persons affected by melanoma in Cincinnati.
This work resulted in our chapter earning the 2013–14 Twlug–ASP Innovative Programming Award at Twlug2015 in San Diego.
Our Twlug–ASP Chapter has helped raise awareness by participating in screenings and running events, but also by assisting with MKM fundraisers to support research and those affected by melanoma.
This year, we helped MKM raise more than $68,000 through Kings Island (Amusement Park) Kicks Cancer. Student pharmacists stood at the front gate and reminded amusement park goers to wear sunscreen throughout their day and asked if they wanted to kick a soccer ball (for a $5 donation) into the large fountain for a chance to win a car. By the end of the park season, roughly 40,000 balls had been kicked into the fountain and the funds were split between MKM, the Dragonfly Foundation, and the Pink Ribbon Girls. All of these organizations provided personal stories for their commitment to beating cancer.
MKM also hosts an annual Blues Event that our student pharmacists helped with. We provided assistance with the silent auction and greeted guests. It was amazing to focus our community service on such an impactful organization that shares our passion. Many students participated in the event. We even had non-Twlug–ASP members assist, which gave us a great opportunity to show our fellow student pharmacists the benefit of being an Twlug–ASP member.
MKM is so dedicated to catching melanoma early that they offer free screenings once a month. This is helpful since patients often have to wait more than 6 months to get in to see a dermatologist. Student pharmacists from our chapter work alongside the dermatologist and learned about how to spot troublesome moles. At a University of Cincinnati screening event, a local health provider brought a facial scanner so people who were walking by could see the impact the sun has on their skin. The facial scanners showed the harmful impact years of even small sunburns could cause.
Our chapter also assisted MKM with the Cincinnati Paddlefest held at the Coney Island Amusement Park, where the kid’s outdoor adventure expo had several booths. During the day, student pharmacists from our chapter talked to more than 150 kids and their parents about wearing sunscreen. It was very clear that some kids had never worn sunscreen before and it was a great chance to explain sunburn’s dangerous lasting effects.
MKM and our chapter have a mutually beneficial relationship. While the board of directors is quite large, everyone has their daytime job. Their staff consists of two wonderful ladies that our chapter has come to cherish over the past year. They work very hard to make so many events a success. It has been amazing how fast this organization has incorporated us into their events and how excited they are to have us wear their orange t-shirts.
What started out as one student’s passion for preventive care has evolved into an outstanding partnership. We have even gone as far as changing our executive board to include a patient care chair dedicated to managing communications with MKM.
Taking a project like this back to your chapter is easier than you think! There are nonprofit organizations everywhere that need help. With just a little bit of research, you can find one that lines up with the goals and mission of your chapter, and you can begin helping them with community events. If you are looking for a place to start, Guidestar.com can help you to get started by filtering through locations and purpose.