Torrey Pines High School Girl Scout aims for skin cancer awareness on way to Gold Award

Torrey Pines High School senior Michelle Temby, a Girl Scout for 13 years, has been working on her Gold Award, the highest in Girl Scouts, since August 2014.

Her goal is to educate the community on the effects of the three types of skin cancer, the need to prevent skin cancer by using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, and the signs to see and recognize skin cancer, such as the ABCDE’s of melanoma.

Michelle started the Skin Cancer Awareness and Prevention Club at Torrey Pines High School. Part of her project involves volunteers from the club to work at events. For example, she had members help pass out sunscreen and educational pamphlets as well as share prevention tips to soccer players and parents at the Surf Cup in November of 2014.

Teachers at Carmel Valley Middle School, Solana Highlands, Solana Pacific, and Solana Ranch volunteered their time to let her share presentations on skin cancer awareness and prevention with their classes, and let her test their students with quizzes and evaluations on the presentation. She also presented to the Rally for Life Club at Torrey Pines High School on the night of their “Cancer Never Sleeps” event.

The overarching goal of her Gold Award, says Michelle, is to spread the word on skin cancer awareness and prevention. Although skin cancer is the most common, yet most preventable, cancer in the United States, most people don’t realize the damage the sun does to unprotected skin. Melanoma, the most dangerous of the three skin cancers, kills a person every hour in America. One session in a tanning booth increases the chance of getting skin cancer by 20 percent. The most affected group to get melanoma are females, ages 25-29. If you find a new or suspicious mole on your body, head to the dermatologist and get it checked out, says Michelle.