The story of our heroine goes back to the time when she was a little girl. Bronwyn grew up near the beach in Southern California, and as a blonde, blue-eyed, light-skinned little girl, she came home almost every day with blisters on her face from a strong tan.
"That in the late 60s and early 70s, we didn't have as much awareness about sunscreens as we do today. So, we didn't know about the benefits and importance of sunscreen. So it wasn't until I was about 12 and I went to my annual pediatrician's appointment and my pediatrician looked at the scars all over my nose and cheeks and told me that if I got another sunburn, I would have skin cancer."
This conversation with the doctor, which, due to her young age, she was not yet able to truly understand, led to the fact that she was simply afraid and hid from the sun for decades, and just started this whole path of sensitivity to the sun, and in February of this year (2022) she was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma.
"At that time, he really did me a favor. I thought, "Oh my God, I'm cursed." Here I live in Southern California, all my friends play outside, all my brothers and sisters, and I couldn't go outside without getting burned. So at the time I thought I was cursed. But now I realized that I was able to live all these decades without getting skin cancer. You know, I feel very happy. I'm glad he gave me this wake-up call at such a young age."
Bronwyn keeps a blog on Instagram, where she records videos in an unusual format (one of her channels is called a Mermaid in the shade) about the importance of protection from the sun.
"Yes, it is very important today. So today, I think the message is coming out. Although studies have been conducted that have shown that many people still do not know about sun care, especially the younger generation, for example, aged 20 to 30 years. There were studies, I remember, there was a study that really said that the generation does not yet have real knowledge about sunscreen care. So that's why my mission is to bring this message to everyone."
According to her, it is also important for people of her generation, as getting older, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer and Bronwyn has her own approach to sun protection.
"My big gun safety strategy really involves a multi-faceted approach. It's about wearing sunscreen, wearing a wide-brimmed hat. I don't leave the house without a wide-brimmed hat or sunscreen. Even when I take out the trash, I have a sun shirt and sunscreen, even if it's only for a few minutes, because I can burn out so quickly. So, I also make sure that you know when I'm driving that I'm fully protected. I'll have something like an arm sleeve if I wear shorter sleeves, and then I'll make sure I'm wearing some kind of protective shirt. So I like to look at it as a multi-faceted approach."
The second blog is called Sun Care Coach, where our heroine shares information about skin cancer and helps people feel more confident in life.
I just know for myself how many years that I spent isolated and, you know, feeling out of control regarding my skin and not feeling very confident like it was hard for me to really express to others about my skin and about how sun sensitive I was and then to really like, you know, feel even disconnected because I didn't feel that the people around me really understood because no one else had skin like me, around me and so, today as a Suncare Coach, what I love is that I get to empower those with skin cancer, to feel more in control of their lives to feel more confident and connected with those around them because they're more connected with themselves, which is so important.
By tradition, at the end of our interesting conversation (Bronwyn told about her book, which became a bestseller and a wonderful collection of hats) I asked for advice to readers - how to protect yourself from skin cancer?
"This is a multifaceted approach, every choice we make either brings us closer to the diagnosis of skin cancer, or moves us away from it. So, we want to make sure that the choices we make, even the smallest choices, a small choice of eating fresh vegetables and good whole foods, and then also make choices to make sure we are protected by safe clothing and hats, staying away from the solarium is a good choice. But I think there comes a point when we say that we can't go back and undo what we did in childhood or adolescence, but what we can do is make the right choice today, and live in it."