Those familiar with IMPACT Melanoma will likely recognize the Your Skin is In Ambassador program, a vital component of our Practice Safe Skin initiative.
We periodically feature some of our ambassadors in blog posts and on social media. These young students are impressive in their commitment to enact change in their communities and Ellis Schroeder is no exception.
In his words, “You can’t make an impact without providing access and awareness,” and Ellis is going to great lengths to do just that.
Ellis empowers the mission of IMPACT Melanoma
Just ask Laurie Seavey, IMPACT Melanoma’s Practice Safe Skin Manager: “IMPACT is so lucky to be working with Ellis on so many projects! Ellis is the secretary for our monthly Dermatology Interest Group meetings and is facilitating high level sunscreen programs in Georgia’s Fulton and DeKalb counties. His passion and amazing drive is exceptional and admirable to all of us. I have to say I’m so glad Ellis is part of IMPACT Melanoma and I see him working with our programs for years to come.”
And we’re not the only ones who recognize the extraordinary talent and commitment that Ellis brings to the table.
Dan Chapman, of the South Fork Conservancy in Atlanta, Georgia, has this to say about Ellis…
Shining light on sun safety for all in Atlanta
Ellis Schroeder, a Druid Hills High School junior, is on a mission to keep Atlanta safe from skin cancer. And the South Fork Conservancy is a key player in Schroeder’s selfless, philanthropic endeavor.
He started DermaTeens, a nonprofit which educates school kids on skin health; created a sun-safety webinar; and donated sunscreen, sunglasses, and hygiene products to Atlanta Mission homeless shelters.
Bringing sunscreen to the masses is Schroeder’s latest effort to combat skin cancer which inequitably impacts people of color and those without access to health care.
“Consistent sunscreen usage has been shown time and time again to reduce one’s risk of developing skin cancer, yet many don’t wear sunscreen because they don’t have access to it, whether due to financial constraints, forgetfulness, or other reasons,” he said. “I want to address this inequity through skin cancer prevention and awareness.”
Schroeder’s interest in skin cancer prevention began with his mother’s successful fight against cancer, as well as “an impactful” conversation with a stage 4 melanoma survivor. Research led him to the conclusion that skin cancer is the most common, yet preventable, type of cancer.
It also led him to Zonolite Park. Zonolite, along the South Fork of Peachtree Creek, was a natural spot for Schroeder’s latest sunscreen dispenser. Last month, on a broiling summer day, he attached two dispensers to posts at Zonolite.
The South Fork Conservancy, which works to link parks and trails along the creek, played a huge role a decade ago in transforming Zonolite from an industrial wasteland into a much-loved neighborhood park.Sally Sears, a founding board member of the nonprofit, connected Schroeder with DeKalb County parks’ officials for permission to place dispensers in the park.
“After talking with Ellis, and seeing his excellent presentation, we were happy to accommodate the addition of sunscreen dispensers at Zonolite Park,” said Caleb Wittenmyer, greenspace manager for the county’s Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs office. “Providing a safe environment for park users is vital to the success of our parks and this addition enforces our mission of enhancing quality of life while promoting healthy lifestyles for Dekalb County citizens.”
Schroeder isn’t done fighting skin cancer. Or saving lives.
“Even if this project means one person doesn’t get burned one day, I consider it a success,” he said.“This is just the beginning of how I hope to address health disparities across Atlanta.”