“Skin Is In” Pledge takes on BHS

Students sign a pledge agreeing to not use indoor tanning before prom.

Audrey Desjardin, Senior Staff Writer

With prom around the corner tan skin becomes more desired, but this year a student at BHS has plans to reduce the amount of tanning that takes place before the event.

The “Skin is In” pledge was brought to BHS by senior Jillian Sheltra. The pledge gives students attending prom the ability to sign it agreeing that they will not use indoor tanning before prom to help prevent melanoma, the only deadly form of skin cancer. The foundation that runs this pledge is Melanoma Foundation of New England. The MFNE educates and informs people about the effects of the deathly cancer, melanoma.

“I have always had a strong opinion on indoor tanning and its negative effects on young people, but I took a special interest when I learned how prevalent melanoma was in my family,” said Sheltra. “Both of my grandmothers had some form of melanoma in their lifetimes.”

Melanoma is the fastest rising cancer and can start at any age. The only way to cure melanoma is  through surgical removal in the cases detected early enough.

Senior Megan Perrault signed the pledge, believing it is helpful in preventing skin cancer and bringing awareness.

“It [tanning] increases your risk of getting skin cancer by a huge amount, so it’s really important not to go and to choose other options,” Perreault said.

Sheltra will set up and oversee an assembly held on March 27th during advisory for seniors to attend.

“We have some clinicians and medical students coming in from UMass Medical School to explain just how dangerous tanning really is, and I’m hoping that social media will help to promote the idea,” Sheltra said.

A way to spread the word on the Skin is In pledge is through Facebook. Senior Emily Belanger found out about the pledge through seeing friend Jessica Laverriere’s post.

“If people click on your link and do it too, you can win prizes, and also if a bunch of you from your school do it you can win money for your school.”

As of mid March, there have been 34 pledges from BHS. Sheltra hopes to spread the word about the pledge.

“The best way to get people to sign, is just by word-of-mouth; if people are talking about the pledge good or bad then the message is getting across, and that’s all I could ever ask for,” Sheltra said.

Senior Nicholas Guillerault also signed the pledge and agrees that it’s important and beneficial to awareness of melanoma.

“I care a lot about skin care health in general,” said Guillerault. “If this obsession with getting extremely tan through the use of tanning beds and booths doesn’t stop then I’m sure the effects will show up later in their [indoor tanning user’s] lives.”

Some students such as Belanger have a deeper understanding as to just how horrible melanoma can be.

“My grandmother actually died of skin cancer, and that’s because there was no awareness, so she never wore sunscreen or anything,” said Belanger. “It was really scary to see the spots on her skin changing and when she had to have them removed, even my mom has had skin cancer spots removed so it’s really close to my heart.”

Whether the reason to sign the pledge sparks from family history with the cancer or strong beliefs against tanning Guillerault feels that the pledge can bring a lot of awareness to something people don’t take very seriously.

“I think that the most beautiful state that someone’s skin can be in is a natural healthy form. If someone drinks water and keeps their skin moisturized and they just treat their skin well in general then I think that looks better than an intense sort of bronzed look,” said Guillerault. “The truth is, you weren’t born that way, it’s not healthy, you just have to sort your priorities – health or your idea of beauty?”