SISTERS, OR -- The Sisters Camp Sherman Fire District plans to give out hundreds of special bracelets to encourage young kids to take care of their skin. Julie Spor, with the department, says the idea began with Michael McLaughlin - a volunteer firefighter who underwent treatment for lung cancer at St. Charles Bend. "They had hospital volunteers giving out small plastic bags filled with a bracelet, a small bottle of sunscreen and a note about protecting yourself from sun damage. And, Michael brought a few of those bags home and really wanted to get this type of sunscreen awareness out to the kids in the Sisters community."
McLaughlin passed away in November; but Spor says the effort pushed forward to honor his memory. The bracelets are made with special beads, "They’re white when you’re inside. And, when they’re exposed to UV rays from the sun, they change from white to bright colorful beads. When that happens, the idea is to get your attention and remind you of the importance of putting on some sunscreen." His wife donated the solar beads, and the rest of the project was funded by donations made to the department in his name.
Volunteers will distribute more than 500 of the bracelets, next month, "We do a Spray the Kids event every year and it’s a big deal; a lot of the kids attend that – or, all of them," Spor tells KBND News. "That second week in June, we’ll hit three different schools in the area: Sisters Elementary, Sisters Christian Academy and Black Butte Elementary out in Camp Sherman." She adds, "We usually give out a little hand out at the end of the year, whether it’s a Frisbee or a beach ball or something, just from the area fire departments, as kind of an end of the year gift. So, this year, we thought it would be a good idea to add the bracelet in with that and hit the kids when they head off on their summer vacations."