Olympic medallists spread the sun safe message

IT WAS all about being safe and sound in the sun when two successful London Olympians visited school students in Tamworth yesterday. 

Kayaking gold medallist David Smith and sailing silver medallist Nina Curtis spoke to Year 9 students at Farrer about Cancer Council NSW’s Sun Sound campaign and the importance of protecting skin from the sun. 

The Sun Sound is a jingle created by Australian musician Ben Lee that is played over loudspeakers at pools, beaches and other venues to remind people to put on hats, sunscreen, clothing and seek shade.

Pools in Tamworth, Manilla, Kootingal, Quirindi, Werris Creek, Inverell, Armidale, Walcha and Gunnedah are among more than 60 locations across the state where The Sun Sound can be heard this summer. 

Mr Smith said being involved in kayaking and surf livesaving, he had seen the damage the sun could do – and knew the damage skin cancer could cause to people’s lives.

“The Cancer Council was looking for ambassadors and we put our hands up immediately,” he said.

Miss Curtis said young people knew to be sun safe but could forget, so the playing of reminders over PA systems was a great concept.

She said she encouraged sun safe behaviour when coaching, enforcing a “no hat, no play” policy.

“I think you’ve got to lead by example,” Miss Curtis said.

Cancer Council NSW North West community programs coordinator Shaen Fraser said the initiative was targeted at teenagers and young people.

Melanoma remains the most common cancer among 15- to 29-year-olds.

While teenagers are tanning less, a quarter report getting caught out and getting sunburnt.

Skin cancer rates were still peaking but with young people today growing up with the sun safe message, Ms Fraser said it was hoped there would be a reduction in the future.

“We’re protecting this generation from damage that happens now but doesn’t show until later,” she said.

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