Free sunscreen stations coming to a Kelowna beach near you - InfoNews

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Free sunscreen stations coming to a Kelowna beach near you

FILE PHOTO - Gyro beach, Kelowna.
July 13, 2019 - 7:00 AM

KELOWNA - Swimmers and sunbathers soaking up rays at high traffic tourist locations in Kelowna will soon get to slap on some free sunscreen, courtesy of an effort that was sparked by a Kelowna mom’s love for her son.

Karen Wells, whose son Morgan Forshner died three years ago when a cancerous mole spread throughout his body, will be installing three sunscreen dispensers around the city, Aug. 1.

One of them is going to be inside the Visitor Information office downtown, another will be at Kelowna Golf and Country Club and the third will likely be at Gyro Park, though the logistics of that dispenser has yet to be worked out.

Wells explained that getting these stations up and running so quickly is in large part due to a partnership she forged with the Save Your Skin Foundation.

They’re a national patient-led not-for-profit group dedicated to the fight against non-melanoma skin cancers and melanoma.

“They’re amazing,” said Wells. “They are funding all of the dispensers and our job is to take care of them and do the maintenance.”

The dispensers will be put out as a pilot program that should run until September or October, depending upon the weather. At that point Wells and her Morgan’s Mole Patrol team will have gathered as much information as possible.

“We will have data about how many people are using them and how long the sunscreen lasts (in each dispenser),” she said.

Once it’s all worked out, they will be armed with information they will take to other cities, to see if they too are interested in installing some sunscreen protection.

Wells already has her sights set on another local municipality that may fit the bill.

Her aim is to stop the spread of melanoma, a cancer she believes is largely preventable with the application of some sensible sun behaviour — something that's more of a challenge in a sun-worshiping part of the world, like the Okanagan.

If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for Morgan, who would have done things differently if he only knew.

“I know he’d be happy we’re doing this,” said Wells. “If we can just save one family to not go through what he’s gone through and they could see their children to grow up, he would want that.”

Wells also pointed out that sunscreen should be the last resort. First choice should be to limit your time in the sun, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., seek shade, cover up by wearing long sleeves and pants and a hat with a wide brim, use sunscreen, specifically one labelled broad-spectrum, SPF 30, protect the lips with lip sunscreen or zinc oxide.

To learn more about Morgan's Mole patrol follow the family on Facebook.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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