COLUMBIA, SC – February 5, 2020 – Today, the front steps of the South Carolina State House were covered in sneakers to remind lawmakers of individuals who had lose their lives to cancer and the work they can do to prevent premature deaths.
Legislators on both sides of the aisle sported sneakers with their suits as they joined cancer survivors and patients from across the state at the Coaches vs Cancer Suits and Sneakers event, part of the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Day at the State House.
Dedicated to blocking cancer before it takes center court in people’s lives, Charleston Southern University Women’s Basketball Coach and prostate cancer survivor Fred Applin led the rally and shared his personal struggle with the disease.
“I’m a fighter against cancer. Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and I was lucky enough to have support; some people don’t have that. Cancer doesn’t discriminate against race, gender or person. We have to fight daily and never give up,” shared Applin on the duty of lawmakers to reduce the cancer burden in the state.
This year, 31,710 individuals are estimated to be diagnosed with cancer in the Palmetto State and an estimated 10,780 will die from the disease. But Coach Applin, along with over 50 cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones who gathered at the State House, are working with legislators to change that.
“They have taken the day off and come from all around the state,” shared ACS CAN Government Relations Director Beth Johnson, speaking to the passion of the ACS CAN volunteers. “They are cancer survivors who are here to prevent others from the suffering they’ve had to endure. They are caregivers who have watched their loved ones fight or lose their lives to the disease and want to protect others from untimely death. We are asking our senators to support the Youth Skin Cancer Prevention Act and save the lives of thousands of South Carolinians.”
Despite notable decreases in cancer rates nationwide, melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the second most common cancer among females ages 15 to 29. Using a tanning bed just once before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59 %. Rates increase even more when tanning devices are used before the age of 25.
Current laws fall short of protecting children and adolescents from skin cancer. If enacted, the Youth Skin Cancer Prevention Act would prohibit the use of indoor tanning facilities by all youth under the age of 18, ensure all consumers are properly informed of their risk prior to use, and require all indoor tanning devices to be properly regulated with effective enforcement provisions in place.
The day concluded with a special resolution by the General Assembly officially designating February 5, 2020 as Suits and Sneakers day in South Carolina in honor of the lives lost to cancer and the life-saving work that can be done to reduce the cancer burden in the state.
About ACS CAN
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit acscan.org.
About Suits and Sneakers
The Suits and Sneakers initiative, coordinated by the Coaches vs. Cancer program, is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) annual Day at the Capitol event to call on the state lawmakers to take steps to reduce suffering and death from cancer.