Just Believe distributes sunscreen dispensers

MARQUETTE — May is a busy month for Delight Hill.

As part of Melanoma Awareness Month, Hill, of Gwinn, is hard at work teaching others of the dangers of sun exposure and how to protect themselves from UV rays.

Hill’s organization, Just Believe, was recently awarded a grant from the Superior Health Foundation to help further its mission through the purchase of sunscreen dispensers.

“They awarded me enough to purchase 15,” said Hill, adding that they have been presented to local school athletic departments and Little League officials to utilize at outdoor sporting events.

Negaunee High School Athletic Director Andrew Brunette said one of the dispensers has been placed at the school’s tennis court complex, and has already been heavily used by both students and the community.

“With our weather here, we often take the sun for granted or don’t think about the dangers,” Brunette said. “But it’s an important consideration. Skin cancer is a serious disease, and if we can do anything to try to prevent it, that’s certainly good.”

Brunette said he’s grateful of Hill’s efforts to raise awareness.

“We appreciate her including us in this project,” he said.

Two dispensers were placed outside of Marquette County, at Gladstone and Escanaba’s public beaches, and another two attained last year through a grant from the Melanoma Foundation of New England, are at the Iron Ore Heritage Trail head in Negaunee and Peter Nordeen Park in Gwinn.

Two additional dispensers are available through Just Believe to organizations or businesses holding outdoor events, said Hill.

“People need to be reminded to use sunscreen and to reapply every couple hours to prevent skin damage and skin cancer,” Hill said.

This cause is near and dear to Hill, as her daughter, Jodi Ball, died of stage four melanoma at just 38 years old. According to Hill, Ball was a kind-hearted, caring person who strived to make life better for children in Marquette County.

An employee of Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency for more than a decade, Ball worked with special education children and had landed her “dream job” doing public relations with the organization shortly before her diagnosis in 2011.

Up until the end, Hill said her daughter worked hard to help others through skin cancer education and awareness, all while fighting valiantly against the aggressive cancer that had metastasized in her brain.

Just Believe, created in her memory and honor, carries on what she had started before her death on Feb. 10, 2013.

“It’s all because of her,” said Hill. “I knew how important it was to her, and now, it’s my passion.”

In addition to awarding and helping to place all of the sunscreen dispensers, Hill is also working to promote sun safety in schools during Melanoma Awareness month, as well as the months before and after.

“I’ve been going nonstop for probably two months,” said Hill, adding that she’s already visited dozens of classrooms throughout Marquette County.

She shares Ball’s story, as well as general information about the different types of skin cancer, signs and symptoms they should watch for, risk factors associated with the disease and tips to enjoy the outdoors safely.

In addition to wearing sunscreen, Hill advises students, and anyone spending time outdoors, to always wear a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing.

Hill can be reached at 906-346-6362 or dbhill2@yahoo.com to reserve a sunscreen dispenser for an event, or to set up an in-school presentation. More information can be found at www.jodisbelieve.com

Kelsie Thompson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is kthompson@miningjournal.net.