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Melanoma Awareness Day Promotes Healthy Tanning Alternatives

The event takes place from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. April 21 at the North Canton Medical Foundation and honors the memory of Ellen Gray, who died from melanoma at age 29

The second annual Melanoma Awareness Day at the aims to help people ditch their unhealthy tanning habits in favor of safer alternatives.

"The big push for us is how to tell people and to show people that there are other ways to get a tan or a healthy glow without putting yourself in a tanning bed and receiving lots of extra sun exposure that really could be a major cause of melanoma," said Julie Elkins in the foundation's marketing and community relations office.

The free event touts the use of makeup, spray-tanning and lotions to get a healthy summer glow instead of heading to a tanning bed. The foundation got some help from Macy's and MAC cosmetics for the event.

Melanoma Awareness Day takes place from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. April 21 at the North Canton Medical Foundation, entrance A. It honors the memory of Ellen Gray, a North Canton Medical Foundation patient who died of melanoma at 29 years old.

"Once diagnosed with melanoma, all she wanted to do was tell people about melanoma and how you can prevent getting it," Elkins said.

Event participants will hear more about Gray and even take part in one of her favorite activities — a hobby that provided a creative release while she battled melanoma — splatter painting.

Elkins said the splatter painting is by donation, and all money goes toward the North Canton Medical Center Cancer Relief Fund to help patients at the cancer center to afford wigs, food and gas cards and other items. That's originally what Gray had wanted to do — raise money through her art and use it to help others.

Free melanoma screenings also are available, but participants must register beforehand because spaces are limited. The foundation starts taking appointments Monday. Call 330-433-1570.

Dr. Kari Kendra of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center also will lend her expertise as a speaker at the event.

Through a silent auction participants will have the chance to win several prizes, including artwork and a tree from Sandy's Landscaping. A basket raffle also will take place.

Elkins said she hopes a few hundred people stop out this year to learn about what they can do to prevent melanoma.

"You can look beautiful, but if you’re dead at 30 … It’s one of those things where you’ve outweighed the benefits.”

To learn more about the event, check out the event page through the North Canton Medical Foundation.

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