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EPA Administrator Whitman Announces Partnership with Shonda Schilling of the Shade Foundation and Arizona Department of Health to Help Prevent Skin Cancer and Promote Sun Safety in Arizona

Release Date: 03/26/2003
Contact Information:

CONTACT: Wendy Chavez, 415-947-4248
or Lisa Harrison, 202-564-4355

PARADISE VALLEY (03/26/03) EPA Administrator Whitman today joined students at Cherokee Elementary School along with SHADE Foundation founder Shonda Schilling and husband, Arizona Diamondback pitcher Curt Schilling, to announce a new sun safety partnership with the Arizona Department of Health Services. The partnership aims to educate children about skin cancer and other health risks from overexposure to the sun.

As a state with high incident rates of melanoma, the EPA and ADHS are teaming up with the SHADE Foundation to integrate melanoma awareness into Arizona classroom curriculum using the EPA's SunWise program.

EPA Administrator Christie Whitman said, "Nothing is better than a beautiful day under the broad expanse of a sunny Arizona sky. But with the rising incidence of skin cancer in the United States, we have to be sure we all know how to enjoy those days safely. Teaching our kids how to protect themselves from excessive exposure to the sun's rays is the goal of EPA's SunWise program. I am delighted to join with the Shade Foundation and the Arizona Department of Health Services in helping to ensure that all of Arizona's children enjoy a bright, healthy future here in the Grand Canyon State."

SunWise is a national environmental and health education program designed to teach children and their care givers how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. SunWise is a partnership program with schools, which in turn sponsor classroom and community activities that raise children's awareness of stratospheric ozone depletion, UV radiation and simple sun care strategies.

"Melanoma can be prevented. If we can teach responsible sun behavior to children, hopefully they will carry this attitude with them throughout their life and reduce the number of melanoma incidents in the future," said Shonda Schilling, melanoma survivor and founder of the Shade Foundation. "The EPA's SunWise Program is a great way to get our message through to students."

"Protecting young children from overexposure to the sun can have a tremendous impact on lowering lifetime risk of skin cancer," said Arizona Department of Health Services Environmental Health Office Chief Will Humble.

"The EPA's SunWise program was designed with the goal of keeping our children -- our future-- healthy by giving them, their teachers and their parents the information they need about the dangerous effects of UV radiation," said Wayne Nastri, regional administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest office in San Francisco. “This partnership is a huge victory for the fight against skin cancer.”

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and is increasing at an alarming rate. A person's chance of developing melanoma is directly related to sun exposure before the age of 18. One in 5 children in the U.S. will develop skin cancer during his or her lifetime.

The SHADE Foundation was founded in 2002 by Shonda Schilling, wife of Arizona Diamondback Pitcher Curt Schilling, to educate the public about melanoma prevention and early detection. Shonda Schilling battled melanoma throughout the Diamondbacks’ World Series season in 2001. After five operations removing 25 malignant melanomas from her body, today Shonda is cancer free and has dedicated her life to sun-safety.

People can still enjoy time spent outdoors while protecting themselves from overexposure to UV rays by following these steps: check the UV index, wear a hat; wear tightly woven, loose-fitting, full length clothing; use SPF 15+ sun screen; use UV-blocking sunglasses; and seek shade.

For more information on the SunWise Program, visit or on the SHADE Foundation, visit