City Councilor Matt O’Malley, who represents most of Jamaica Plain, proposed last week to install sunscreen dispensers in City parks.
“The response has been phenomenal,” he told the Gazette this week.
According to him, the Melanoma Foundation of New England has already been in touch with the goal of possibly underwriting the expense of installing dispensers in public parks and areas. A meeting between the Foundation and O’Malley’s office was scheduled for this week, after the Gazette’s deadline.
According to O’Malley, skin cancers—melanomas—are the most common cancer in the U.S., and one of the most preventable. Some five million Americans are battling the disease.
“New England has some of the highest rates of melanoma in the country, higher than Florida,” he said.
When the Gazette asked the redheaded councilor if he was motivated by his own fair skin, O’Malley said it’s a concern for everyone.
“As a ginger, I’ve had questionable freckles removed. My father is a skin cancer survivor. Whether you’re fair-skinned or not, everyone should use sunscreen,” he said. Melanoma “rates are still very high in African Americans and Latinos as well. It’s something that cuts across all backgrounds and races.”
O’Malley said the idea came from a dermatology student, who proposed the idea to his office a few months ago.