LIVINGSTON, NJ - With summer starting and children now enjoying the outdoors it is imperative not to forget the dangers the sun has on one’s skin. That’s the motto the Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation has adopted in an effort to help decrease children’s chance of contracting skin cancer.

As stated on the Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation's website, “Skin cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the outer layers of your skin…Since skin cancer generally develops in the epidermis, the outermost layers of skin, a tumor is usually clearly visible. This makes most skin cancers detectable in the early stages.”

To take a more direct approach with young people, the foundation recently introduced the Team SunSmart program in an effort to make sunscreen use a daily routine among student athletes. The primary goal of this program is to make the application of sunscreen a normal pre-game routine and part of an athlete's equipment bag much like they now pack a sports drink.

Even with the advanced knowledge on skin cancer, many still view sunscreen use as an afterthought. However that may change as Livingston resident and LHS athletic director Patrick Genova has gave his public support for the Team SunSmart program after recently overcame his own battle with melanoma, a form of skin cancer.

“Personally, I am a sun lover and have always been," Genova said. "However my most recent issue with the melanoma that I had has certainly increased my awareness to this most important medical issue.”

Genova’s own life-threatening battle led him to campaign on behalf the Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation, and try to increase public awareness.

“We all know that not everyone will apply sunscreen when needed," he said. "However, if the program has led to 10, 20, maybe 40 percent of those who heard this message to understand the need to be careful, then what we did this past spring was a success.”