Several years ago my dear friend and neighbour told me about an ambitious idea she had... a dream to bring a fun event to our beloved town, an event for kids, created and supported by parents and family members... A Soap Box Derby.
She would invite friends of all ages to build little cars, pass safety inspections, temporarily close a down-grade street in town, race-coast down a hill, and have a heckuva good time on a summer day.
And here we are... fresh from the celebration of the fifth annual... my friend's fun project: Meaford Soap Box Derby
The Meaford Soap Box Derby is held annually on Canada Day (or the Saturday closest to Canada Day) in downtown Meaford, with the coordination and support of many community members who share the same passion as my friend does for the fun competitive friendly race of non-motorized vehicles large enough to hold but one small person.
I have always supported my friends' efforts in this event from afar, typically being away Canada Day weekend (or two years ago being confined to bedrest still recovering from surgery), but I was always home to observe the after-event cleanup and stories.
Every year I noticed that my beloved friends came home from the Meaford Soap Box Derby with sunburns. Busy day, lots to do, early morning setup until late afternoon takedown, lots of tents for shade but also lots of hours in and out of the sun.
So.... inspired by some of my melanoma advocacy efforts in the city, I thought perhaps I could "sponsor" the folks at the Meaford Soap Box Derby with a sunscreen/shade/sun-safety tent. Finally something I could do at home! I could give back to my community in a small way - and on the best event of the summer. AND I could keep my friends from getting sunburns if I was there in person to apply their sunscreen for them! ;-)
So I did.
With generous support from Save Your Skin Foundation and the Bluewater Canadian Cancer Society, I was able to participate in the 5th annual Meaford Soap Box Derby - YES!!
I was there at 7 a.m. for setup, got to witness all the action - fantastic group of volunteers! Friends rather.. they are a sweet bunch of friends all working toward a fun event for kiddos from all over.
The sun was warm and bright all morning, there was a gentle breeze keeping everybody cool, but I got a chance to let people know that that is one of the most dangerous kinds of days. Deceivingly beautiful, but you can end up with a scorcher of a hot epidermis if you're not careful!
I had a couple hours to share lots of sunscreen with kids and parents who may have forgotten or neglected their Sun Protection Factor. Many responded with a positive appreciation as yes they did not have it on. I helped people Slip Slop Slap around the event and was humourously dubbed "the Sunscreen Lady" - it was fun!
Save Your Skin Foundation had sent me a bunch of bracelets and key chains equipped with UV Index indicating sensors (they change colour in sunlight, reminding you to put on sunscreen) so I was able to give those out, as well as a varied supply of 30+ SPF sunscreen creams, sprays, and sticks. Many kids were sharing with each other and passing along word that there was a special tent for shade and sunscreen.
Unfortunately I had to leave just before 10 a.m. to buzz to Toronto (double-booked silly me damned chemo brain) but before I did I was able to hand off the Sunscreen Lady title to a representative from the Canadian Cancer Society (Bluewater). I appreciate the support of the Cancer Society on this day - thank you!!! I owe you one. You helped me to be in two places at once, and I believe that if even ONE person was saved from a sunburn yesterday then we did our jobs.
I loved chatting with little ones who were enthusiastic about sun protection, and I LOVED seeing my friends in action at the event they work hard to plan and carry out every year.
Way to go Meaford Soap Box Derby!
Thank you for having me. See you next year!!!
Some more great photos..... and please feel free to find Meaford Soap Box Derby on Facebook for event info and more fun!