Nilan Nandish Practices Safe Skin by Placing Sunscreen Dispensers in Detroit

Nov 22, 2021

IMPACT Melanoma is proud of the work we do in communities throughout the United States. But we couldn’t accomplish any of this without the support and action of those that approach us with their ideas and desire to do good. The following is a conversation with Nilan Ganesh Nandish, a student out in the Detroit area who placed two sunscreen dispensers to support underserved populations with their skincare initiatives. Nilan found us while doing research to learn more about melanoma following a diagnosis his father received and has since placed one dispenser at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen located at 1264 Meldrum, Detroit, Michigan site and a second one located at their 4390 Conner site, Detroit, Michigan. It’s people like Nilan that help us in our quest to raise awareness and extinguish incidences of skin cancer worldwide.

Here’s his IMPACT(ful) story:

Tell us about your hometown. What’s it all about? What do you appreciate about it? What could make it better?

My hometown is a suburb of Metro Detroit, called Northville, kind of funny since it is a west suburb of the main city. Northville is a historical Victorian city that is seeing changes from builders and growth over the last several years. It offers a small-town feeling with the benefits of a mid-size city. Detroit is known for its automobile industry. It does have a darker image from the 1960 riots, the city lost a lot of its support and like other cities around our country there was a push for the suburbs. The renaissance of our city in this new century is pushing towards revitalizing Downtown Detroit. New initiatives have been developing the city attracting new business and opportunities, Not forgetting the people who have always been there would make it better. Those who tend to have disparities that have continued since the 1960 riots and from socioeconomic hardships. Members of our society who are trying to do their best but ends just never seem to meet and hard choices must be made. I believe any time on the spectrum that individuals can catch a break and have a benefit that would not be afforded to them otherwise make things better.

How far are you from Detroit? What are a few things people ought to know about the Detroit area? What makes it unique?

I am about a half an hour away from Detroit without traffic, around thirty (30) miles. Detroit is filled with sports, arts, music -known for its Motown years and of course Eminem highlighting 8 Mile, a recently updated Riverwalk and is home to one of the main up and coming foodie destinations. My city is unique because its demographics pulls people from all around the world offering a versatile population with individualized needs.

The key takeaway for me (about Detroit) is that it was the birthplace of Iggy and the Stooges, but hey, I’m a music nerd… But I digress.

So, Iggy and The Stooges were actually from Ann Arbor which is 20 miles west of me in Northville so being 45 miles outside Detroit. Ann Arbor is an amazing place to live and stay. It is diverse and well-funded. A lot of it comes from the University of Michigan’s upkeep, but it is also home to some large companies, research, and medical centers for our state. Loved the digression and I know some of the songs!

Tell us about the work you’ve been doing in your community as a student. What impassions you about helping your fellow community members?

I enjoy volunteering, it provides me a way not only to meet new and different individuals but also a chance to give back when I can. When I volunteer around town, I learn new ways of needs that I can help out with, it makes me feel good to be able to lend a hand and do a good turn daily.

You’ve provided sunscreen dispensers (is it one or multiple?) to the underserved people in your community, which is an admirable thing to do. Why’d you take on this initiative?

I have provided two dispensers to start off with. With a hope to add more as funding and locations become available. One location is at Capuchin Soup Kitchen located at 1264 Meldrum, Detroit, Michigan site and a second one located at their 4390 Conner site, Detroit, Michigan. Both locations serve the underserved populations and those who are homeless. Almost all the individuals at the soup kitchens are unable to take advantage of preventative measures against skin cancer such as utilizing sunscreen. I took on the initiative of providing the Capuchin Soup Kitchens with the sunscreen dispensers because I wanted to increase the accessibility to resources against this deadly disease. In the future, I hope to continue to pursue developing and providing health technology innovations not only for melanomas but other health issues on a global scale.

What good do you hope comes from offering free sunscreen within the community?

I have firsthand seen the faces of those who use the sunscreen light up. Sunscreen and what the dispenser stands for and where it is at, represents something bigger than me and IMPACT Melanoma. It is making a difference in the lives of people who are going through hardships and this small difference provides hope and a need to care for their skin along with one more person being protected when they use the sunscreen while having to brave the elements outside. I am encouraged by how offering this free sunscreen is enhancing education about skin cancer: its causes, effects, and impact. Providing free sunscreen not only prevents against skin cancer but helps people become more conscious of their sun-protection behaviors.

Do you have a personal connection to skin cancer that you’d like to share?

Motivated by my dad’s malignant melanoma diagnosis, I wanted to tackle preventative measures against skin cancer. I was shocked to learn that people of color, including Hispanics and Asians, have higher mortality rates from the disease than Caucasians and took fewer measures to limit the onset of this terrible disease.

What’s your personal battle cry regarding proper skincare and the importance of spreading sun safe awareness?

Working on this project and addressing the idea of skin cancer disparities, I hope to continue both academic study and community-facing actions to understand and solve disparities of this kind. I hope to bring preventative measures and treatment to all strata of society using simple, elegant solutions like this.

How’d you first learn about IMPACT Melanoma? What led you to connect with them?

Out of fear and curiosity, while researching melanoma from when my dad was diagnosed, my searches for information kept bringing me to IMPACT Melanoma’s website that is filled with meaningful information. The site gave me resources and answers to my many questions. After learning more about skin cancer and how to prevent it from occurring, the site offered great testimonies to how people and cities around the nation are changing the understanding of this disease and educating people to best practices when exposed to the sun.

What’s the importance of an organization like IMPACT existing?

The importance of an organization like IMPACT Melanoma is huge. The sun and its exposure effects everyone on the planet. The whole world is impacted by UVA and UVB rays. The importance to educate others and provide resources to protect from the sun’s rays to prevent skin cancer is fundamental to health outcomes globally as well as a fundamental need. Many countries near or below the equator do not have a proper understanding of the sun’s effects and the impact on their skin’s health. I hope to support the research and education of this need to improve on skin cancer prevention.

I understand you’re hoping to come to Boston next year to pursue an education in healthcare. That’s exciting! Can we expect to see you here at the IMPACT HQ?

Absolutely, I definitely will be a part of IMPACT Melanoma wherever my college journey takes me, applications are in so we will see. It would be great to be in Boston studying and to be able to directly come into the main office to support the needs of IMPACT Melanoma as an intern and as an adult moving forward. Regardless of which amazing college I will be able to attend, I plan on continuing my work both in my hometown of Metro Detroit and taking sunscreen advocacy to my college campus and globally to others working with IMPACT Melanoma.

Get involved: To bring sunscreen dispensers to your town to Practice Safe Skin, contact IMPACT Melanoma today and let’s discuss how we can help best serve your unique needs. Click here for more information.

Recent Posts

Be SunSafe 365