My name is Sharon Donovan.
Aged 67, I would describe myself as an active older person.
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.
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.
The Solbari Team
Over the coming weeks, we will be publishing some stories from the Solbari Community to help raise awareness about the benefits of sun protection, skin cancer and melanoma.
If you are interested in sharing your story, please answer the following questions from the relevant questionnaire and send us a picture of yourself being sun safe in the outdoors.
Your skin is your largest organ and has a long memory. Sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) damage is cumulative throughout your life. Research shows that sun damage contributes to more than 90% of wrinkles, brown spots, premature skin ageing as well as precancerous and cancerous skin lesions.
Limiting sun exposure is very important. As the UV rays cause the most damage to the skin.