Get the latest from TODAY
How many sunburns does it take to get skin cancer? A stark new public service announcement wants to remind families of the risk just as summer tempts kids to frolic outdoors.
Titled “Mr. Sun” and set to the children’s song by the same name, the video starts with a young woman dying of melanoma. It then goes back in time to show her losing her hair, watching as a doctor circles a suspicious spot on her arm, and eyeing the dark spot with concern at home before the visit. The last scene shows the woman as a young girl sun tanning on the beach without protecting her skin.
The message: Just five blistering sunburns increase a child's risk of developing melanoma by 80 percent.
The PSA was sponsored by Mollie's Fund, a nonprofit organization set up in memory of Mollie Biggane, a college student who died of melanoma at 20. It’s a follow-up to the striking “Free Killer Tan” campaign.
“I have an extremely hard time watching this. The opening brings me right back to when our daughter had melanoma and how she looked towards the end,” Maggie Biggane, Mollie’s mom, told TODAY in a statement.
“Our goal is to prevent anyone else from experiencing the loss of a child as we have,” added Jack Biggane, Mollie’s dad.
The family is urging parents to remember to use sunscreen and protective clothing to protect kids from the sun.
Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults, especially young women, the American Cancer Society warns. The vast majority of cases are caused by the sun. More than 10,000 people in the U.S. will die of melanoma this year.