Meet Our 2018 Event Managers

When you join us at a Destination: Healthy Skin event this summer, you’ll be greeted by the smiling faces of Kerry and Sean, our 2018 event managers. We recently sat down with our newest healthy skin champions to talk about life on the road, their go-to sun protection strategies and why they’re traveling around the country for this important cause.

Q: You recently joined the Destination: Healthy Skin program. What motivated you to get involved with a project that will take you thousands of miles around the U.S., from Maine to California, and many points in between?

Kerry: I was born in Queens and raised in Syracuse, New York, and have spent much of my adult life living in various parts of New York City, with bouts of travel here and there. The travel bug has been in my veins since I was a kid, and I often dreamed of unseen, far-flung places I knew only through books and movies. In high school I traveled to Australia as a student ambassador, and in college I studied in Central America and Northern India. I have since traveled throughout most of the contiguous 48 states, and spent time in parts of Asia, Canada and Europe. Most recently, Sean and I have been spending winters in the U.S. Virgin Islands, living on St. Thomas and working in tourism. I love working with people and being a part of the creation of unique and engaging experiences. I am also a big animal lover, avid runner and enjoy reading, painting, eating Sean’s home-cooking and meeting new people.

Sean: I grew up in Florida, where I spent much of my childhood playing outdoor sports and spending summers at the beach. I left Florida to attend college in New Orleans. Since then, I’ve worked and traveled all over the world. I’ve lived in England and Spain, I’ve backpacked through Mexico and Central America, trekked in the Andes and the Amazon, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and even traveled throughout Southeast Asia. I’m also a scuba-diving instructor, and I enjoy sailing.

Q: Have you ever done anything like managing a road trip for a good cause? 

Sean: This is not my first road trip, nor the first time I’ve worked for a good cause. However, this is my first road trip for a good cause. I have worked regional tours before, and a few years ago I embarked on a cross-country road trip for pleasure, but I have never tackled something quite like this. Kerry and I had been looking for a project where we could contribute to a good cause in a meaningful way, and we are very grateful to have this opportunity to go on the road to support this mission.

Kerry: I traveled cross-country when I was 24, doing community service projects in several different states with the AmeriCorps NCCC. AmeriCorps is a domestic Peace Corps of sorts, and the team I worked with rode around in a 15-passenger van. I have to say, comparatively, the Destination: Healthy Skin RV is a big upgrade! However, the opportunity to work with the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, FEMA and a wildfire team within the course of a year was quite an experience. I also toured the East Coast with the nonprofit Americans Elect back in 2012. As far as this program goes, I am thrilled to be a part of the team to drive awareness and save lives with The Skin Cancer Foundation!

Q: Have either of you been personally affected by skin cancer?

Sean: My dad, for much of his life, battled skin cancer. He had a light complexion, and in his youth he didn’t protect his skin. Later, he was unaware that medicine he had been taking increased his photosensitivity to the sun. After a dermatology appointment uncovered basal and squamous cell carcinomas, he meticulously applied sunscreen and wore a hat and long sleeves in the Florida sun for the rest of his life. Nonetheless, it was common during his regular checkups with his doctor to have additional lesions removed.

Kerry: Grandparents on both sides of my family have had skin cancers removed, but that didn’t always deter me from tanning. Growing up in snowy Syracuse, my friends and I coveted the tanned skin of those who traveled to sunny destinations in the cold winter months. Having a tan made you stand out in my community, and it said that you were well-traveled. Many of the girls in my high school went tanning for prom, and I fell prey to the crazy trend myself in my college years, despite the uncomfortable feeling that I was hurting myself in the long term.

When I was in my early 20s, I got a bad sunburn that seemed to completely change the texture of my skin and left me with a few scary marks. That experience changed me and the way I viewed skin health. Your skin does not stay clear and bright forever! It has taken time (read: years of experience and hopefully a little wisdom), but I think I finally have learned to accept and appreciate my skin’s natural glow and tone. Now, I strive to protect it rather than change it.

Q: How do you protect yourself from the sun?

Kerry: I am now the sunscreen queen, and I encourage all of my loved ones to protect their skin with sunscreen and proper attire. I apply sunscreen to my face and arms whenever they are exposed to the elements, and I use sunscreen as a base for makeup. I tend to work outside (my last job was on a boat), so I go through a lot of sunscreen and sport rash guards and hats when I can!

Sean: I try to wear a hat and sunglasses, and I apply (and reapply) sunscreen. It’s not always possible to avoid peak sun hours, but I try to minimize it. I spend a lot of time on the water, and I wear lightweight, long-sleeved rash guards whenever I’m on the boat.

Q: Were you nervous about driving the big RV?

Kerry: I was rather excited to drive it, actually! I have driven box trucks, trailers and various retrofitted promotional vehicles throughout the New York area, so I’m familiar with driving larger vehicles down tiny streets. Owning and driving an RV cross-country has always been a dream, and this road trip is a wonderful opportunity to hone those skills!

Sean: Cautious. I have experience driving many types of big trucks and trailers, though this is the first time driving an RV. I’ve already spent some time behind the wheel and my comfort level is growing. It’s really a very nice RV that drives quite well.

Q: Have you gone for a skin exam with a dermatologist? What would you tell others who might be reluctant to go?

Kerry: Yes, I’ve recently had an exam. It is important to check-in with yourself and a professional periodically to ensure you are on top of your health. Skin care is health care!

Sean: Yes, I have had several exams with dermatologists over the years. For anyone reluctant to go, I would explain that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world. All of us are exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays, and no matter how much precaution one may exercise, everyone is vulnerable. A skin exam is painless and takes little time, and it can save your life.

A Day at the Beach

No two Destination: Healthy Skin events are identical. Sometimes we are in big cities, other events are in small towns. Occasionally, you’ll find us at a music festival, farmers market or even in a busy mall parking lot. Last weekend, we hosted an event on the boardwalk in lovely Virginia Beach. It was a great day on the shore as we shared sun protection tips and sunscreen samples with hundreds of people and performed free skin cancer screenings with the help of a local dermatologist.

Destination: Healthy Skin RV in Virginia BeachUnfortunately, we also saw our fair share of sunburns throughout the day. As we spoke to our new friends, we heard a few mistakes that beachgoers often make. Today, we’re sharing our top tips to avoid sunburns (and a bad day at the beach):

Prepare Before You Go

Far too many visitors to the RV said they only applied sunscreen after they got to the beach.  You should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you leave the house. This is particularly important if you’re using a chemical sunscreen, because it takes time for the skin to absorb the chemical filters that help protect you. Sunscreen should be applied to your whole body, including your scalp, in between your fingers and toes, and to the tops of your feet.

Reapply Throughout the Day

When you ask people when they reapply sunscreen, it’s not uncommon to hear that it’s only after they start to notice that their skin is reddening. The problem with this approach, of course, is that damage has already been done. Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating. You can set timers on your phone to help you remember to reapply.

Look Beyond Sunscreen

Sunscreen is one important part of a complete sun protection strategy, but it’s not enough. Be sure to wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and UV-protective clothing. Whenever possible, seek the shade with a beach umbrella or tent.

Get to Know UV Rays

UV rays can be sneaky. You may think you’re protected when you are lounging under your beach umbrella because the rays aren’t reaching you from above, but UV rays can bounce off certain surfaces including sand, concrete and water. Even in a shady spot, your skin may come in contact with UV radiation. It’s important to note that clouds don’t provide protection either. In fact, about 80 percent of the sun’s ray can reach your skin on a cloudy day.

Our next beachside stop? Miami on June 9 and 10. We hope to see you there!

Here We Go Again

The RV is fully stocked, and we’re ready to go!

Last week, we kicked off our 2018 Destination: Healthy Skin program in New York City. Over the next three months, we will travel around the country to provide free full-body skin cancer screenings along with educational materials and Walgreens brand sun care items. While our RV is the same, we’ve made some great changes which will allow us to reach more people.  Here’s what you can expect from this year’s program:

More dermatologists: We have more dermatologists volunteering for the program this year than we had in 2017. This means we’re able to increase the number of free skin cancer screenings offered at events.

Different locations: Our roadmap looks a bit different than it did last year. We’re bringing the program to a few new cities including Virginia Beach, Nashville and Miami. See the full schedule.

Ways for the little ones to get involved: We’re pleased to offer a children’s activity at each event to help our younger visitors learn more about sun-safe behaviors. We’ll also have sun care items designed specifically for babies and children.

Interactive activities for the whole family: We want to make sure a visit to the RV is educational, memorable and fun. This year, we will have a photo booth and interactive trivia to test your skin cancer knowledge. In select markets, Walgreens specially trained beauty consultants and pharmacists will be on-hand to distribute sunburn alert stickers, educate visitors on the importance of sun protection, provide recommendations for sun care and sunburn treatments, and educate patients on medication that can cause photosensitivity.

More ways to support the program: This summer, our RV will travel 10,000 miles and reach over 30,000 people. It’s a long journey and one we can’t do without your help. Please sponsor a mile of our trip and help us save lives.

Along the way, we’ll share updates from the road. Please check back often or sign up for email notifications. Together, we can raise awareness and save lives.