Last updated: May 20. 2013 5:30PM - 1199 Views
By - mbiebel@timesleader.com - (570) 991-6109

AT LEFT: Dolores Brennan, a health and physical education teacher and skin cancer survivor, applies sunscreen while watching tennis at Kirby Park.
AT LEFT: Dolores Brennan, a health and physical education teacher and skin cancer survivor, applies sunscreen while watching tennis at Kirby Park.
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It’s not as if the six buddies NEVER wear sunscreen. For example, they said, they would …

“On the beach,” said Josh Foust, 18, of Rice Township.

“Or an all-day concert,” 18-year-old Eric Gdovin of Kingston added.

“If I was going to be at a pool all day,” said Vito Aiello, 17, of Wilkes-Barre

“If I was working outdoors for my dad at Helen & Ed’s Tree Farm,” Jeremy Myslowski, 17, of Dorrance Township explained.

But on a sunny afternoon at Kirby Park, for an hour or longer of tossing around a Frisbee flying disc after classes at Holy Redeemer High School let out, the guys were not worried about protecting their skin.

“Out here, no,” said George Evans, 18, of Hanover Township,

“My mom tells me to, but I forget,” said Tom Madigan, 18, of Wilkes-Barre.

So far, on a recent Thursday, The Times Leader’s completely unscientific survey was turning up lots of people who seemed to disregard the often-repeated advice of moms and dermatologists to slather on the protection with an SPF of 30 or more.

Add to the mix 63-year-old Peer Romanoski of Wilkes-Barre, who was working on his tan and explaining he wants as little as possible to come between him and the sun. “I have arthritis,” he said. “The sun makes my bones feel a lot better.”

“I’m a little darker,” he said, describing his complexion. “I don’t burn; I tan. I have friends with lighter skin and I tell them to be careful.”

But, over by the tennis courts we found Dolores Brennan from the Delaware Valley High School in Pike County, watching high-school doubles tennis competition and applying sunscreen with a protection factor of 100 to her face.

“As a health and physical education teacher, and a skin cancer survivor, I recommend it,” she said.

Brennan was never a sun worshipper, she said, but she did grow up on a farm. As a child, she remembere, “we ran around in our underwear a lot.”

About 10 years ago she had a blistered area on her face. “It looked like a blister that wouldn’t heal.”

It turned out to be cancer, which was removed at Lackawanna Valley Dermatology in Scranton through a miscroscopic procedure called Mohs surgery.

“They cut (the cancerous area) out and take it across the hall to a lab to analyze it and see if there are good cells surrounding it or if there’s more cancer. If there’s more cancer they have to go back and remove more,” she said.

Brennan said she’s fortunate that she didn’t need radiation or chemotherapy. Now she’s careful to apply and re-apply sunscreen, and she seeks shade.

As students from her school competed in their tennis match, she watched from underneath a canopy of large maple trees.

“I wouldn’t sit over there,” she said, pointing at the sunny levee.

Nearby, Bear Creek Township resident Rachel Frankelli, who is a nurse, put her son, Placido, back into his stroller which was covered to protect his delicate skin from the sun. At 6 weeks old, she said, he’s too young for sunscreen, but he’ll start wearing it when he’s 6 months old.

Frankelli’s sister, Kasia Kopec of Kingston, who is also a nurse, said skin protection is important to her family.

“My kids are 7 and 8 years old and they’re sunscreened religiously,” she said, adding she always wears it herself, too, to set a good example. “If I didn’t, they would give me a hard time.”

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