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Surviving Skin Cancer And How Coaches Can Help Their Athletes Avoid It

by Summer Sanders


Most people know me as a wife, mother, daughter, Olympic swimmer and TV personality, but fewer people know me as a melanoma cancer survivor.

My swimming career started in Roseville, CA where I spent countless hours in my backyard pool. I was very fortunate to swim for Stanford before joining Team USA and competing at the 1992 Summer Olympics where I won four medals, two gold, one silver and one bronze. The culmination of a record-breaking swimming career, I was then fortunate to begin a career in the entertainment industry, as analyst, commentator and host for both broadcast sports and entertainment shows. A career I continue today.

However, in October of 2014, my life changed forever when I learned that I had malignant melanoma. During the next year, I discovered 2 more lesions. I am now cancer free after catching them very early and have become passionate about educating youth on the dangers of skin cancer.

Throughout my life, so many people have supported me-- family, friends, teammates and coaches. My coaches were a vital part of my life and all coaches have the ability and responsibility to impact behavior in children and athletes. Realizing the great impact coaches have is why I have been on the National Advisory Board for PCA since the inception. As coaches and promoters of youth sports and outdoor activities, it is no longer acceptable for us to sit on the sidelines and not speak up to protect our athletes and help protect them from the sun.

The program that I have chosen to support is the John Wayne Cancer Foundation’s Block the Blaze program. As a volunteer spokesperson, I am working hard to use my voice to ensure the education of our youth in all aspects of sun safety, to make legislative inroads for protection against skin cancer and to represent melanoma survivors as we work to diminish the incidence of melanoma.

Join me in ensuring our youth are educated and subsequently protected from all forms of skin cancer.

Reach out to the JWCF’s Block the Blaze Director, Lauren Fraga at to learn more about implementing Block the Blaze in your program.

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Learn More About Block The Blaze

Email Lauren

Summer Sanders, Olympic Swimming Gold Medalist and PCA National Advisory Board Member, is also the National Spokesperson for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

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