What is your name?
My name is Sharon Donovan.
Aged 67, I would describe myself as an active older person.
What is your attitude towards sun protection today?
My husband and I live on our yacht, currently based near Newcastle, NSW. Our biggest outdoor activity is long distance bicycle touring. Over the past nine years we have ridden thousands of kilometres in over twenty countries.
Soon, we will embark on our tenth tour. The US East Coast Greenway runs from the tip of Maine to Florida Keys. The distance is about five thousand kilometres. We will ride about two thirds of it. I have Irish ancestry, and with blue eyes and fair skin, I take great care not to get sunburnt. I get very annoyed with myself if I do.
On our rides, I am out in the sun all day. I wear sunscreen on my face and ears, and wear photo chromatic glasses, which darken in the light. I wear gloves to protect my hands, and long pants. If it is too hot for long pants I wear shorts, and slather my legs with fifty plus sunscreen. By the end of our trip I will have a faint "bikers' tan" from my shorts to my socks, but otherwise nothing to suggest I have spent twelve weeks on a bicycle.
What would you tell your 16-year-old self about sun protection?
I would tell my sixteen year old self to stop trying to get a tan. Every summer, she would get burnt and peel, only to repeat it the following year. Fortunately she had mostly given up by then. I would have liked to have spoken to her when she was six or seven. I am very sun conscious, and my grandchildren have followed my lead. I like to think that I have contributed to their health, and have helped to "save their skin."
Thank you Sharon for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.