What is Block the Blaze?

Block the Blaze is a John Wayne Cancer Foundation (JWCF) funded youth skin cancer education program. The Block the Blaze program is the official partner of the California Surf Lifesaving Association (CSLSA) to provide skin cancer education to CA junior lifeguards. JWCF educated over 23,000 California junior lifeguards in Summer 2018 and expanded Block the Blaze into these additional states: CO, DE, FL, GA, IL, ME, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OR, PA, SC, SD, TX.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. with 3.6 million people diagnosed annually, and it is on the rise.  1 in 3 Californians will be diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime.  95-100% of skin cancer is curable if caught early and treated quickly.

Block the Blaze doesn't just educate junior lifeguards. We are excited that camps have also started implementing Block the Blaze on behalf of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, bringing our message to even more youth!

Who do we educate?

The program educates youth about sun safety and skin cancer with an emphasis on skin cancer prevention and self-screening. To date, we have educated over 389,000 youth in 16 states!

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Summer Sanders

National Volunteer Spokesperson
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At 1992 at the Olympic Games, a 19-year-old Summer Sanders won four Olympic medals, bringing home 2 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze. The moment she hung up her Speedo, she embarked on a television career, hosting shows for MTV (Sandblast), the NBA (Inside Stuff), Nickelodeon (Figure It Out), and Fox (The Sports List, Skating with Celebrities), and acting as a correspondent for shows such as Good Morning America, Rachael Ray, and The Today Show. She has been a contestant on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” and the Food Network’s “Guy vs. Rachael Celebrity Cook-Off”. Through her production company Sanders co-created and hosted “Find Your Fitness” on MSN, and The Summer of W on ESPNW. She is most recently the co-host of CBS Sports Net’s award winning sports talk show, “We Need To Talk” and was the host of HLN’s game show “Keywords”. A health and fitness realist, Sanders is a working mom who prides herself on living a hands-on active lifestyle and being a “life is perfectly imperfect” motivator. In October of 2014, her life changed forever when she learned she had a malignant melanoma. She would discover 2 more during the next year. She is cancer free after catching them very early. Her voice and passion for skin cancer are stronger than ever as the volunteer spokesperson for John Wayne Cancer Foundation’s “Block the Blaze” education and awareness program. She also serves on the board of Right To Play (her humanitarian love for 2 decades and counting) and The USA Swimming Foundation. She has two children, Skye (10) and Spider (8), with her husband Olympic skier Erik Schlopy.

By The Numbers

Quick statistics on our program and skin cancer

389,000+

Youth & teens educated by Block the Blaze to date

4

Million people diagnosed annually with skin cancer

23,000+

California junior lifeguards educated in 2018 alone

95

Percent curable if caught early and treated quickly

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Testimonials

What people are saying about Block The Blaze
You guys are great! Last summer my daughter did OC Junior Lifeguards and came home with her new favorite John Wayne hat, sunscreen, and received an amazing educational chat by your staff! How awesome is that!!! I’m from San Clemente and started Junior Lifeguards there in 1983, and continued until 1988. From 1989 to 1996, I became a San Clemente State Lifeguard on the tower and worked my way to become one of the very few permanent women lifeguards in 1997. I worked at Huntington, Bolsa Chica, and Crystal Cove State Beaches as a permanent, and then had enough seniority to transfer back home to San Clemente. At that time, I saw a freckle on my leg that turned out to be melanoma. No one knew what that was back then in 2002. They all thought it was something that can be frozen off. Thankfully, Dr. James Jakowatz at UCI saved me. Fast forward and you guys are out there donating and educating my kids and all my friends still lifeguarding. Your sunscreen is the best stuff I’ve ever used. Smooth and not greasy and smells great and works!!! Thank you sooooooo much for all that you are doing. Seriously amazing!!!!!
Melissa
You folks rocked. Our program loved your presentation. We want you back every year. The sunblock was the best. I had a kid wear it all over his body for days!! Great impact on our kids.
Avila Beach
Your efforts are greatly appreciated. Your presenters are always wonderful and the kids love the hats! Thanks for everything!
Hansen Dam
The timing and execution of the presentations this year was spot on. Also, the sunscreen sticks were a HUUGE hit with the Junior Guards and Lifeguards alike.
Newport Beach
Thank you so much to the foundation for what they have done to fight skin cancer. I can attest to having seen my students learn firsthand how to prevent injury and cancer. A million thanks!
Port Hueneme
...an awesome presentation.
5 Cities Swim School
We love this ... bring it back to us year after year.
Seahorse Swim School
We had a great time and loved the program and your staff!
Shasta Family YMCA
Great program very educational for both the kids and the staff.
YMCA of Superior California
My boys were at Mariners Elementary yesterday for the Block the Blaze presentation and said it was really good! My kindergartner asked if I had any moles larger than an eraser, and if I did I needed to go to the hospital right away. He then insisted on us doing full exams of one another, looking at each mole. Great work!
Kara Kipp Mariners Elementary School
All my students enjoyed the day very much. Thank you for coming to Sierra High School and presenting to us. [The students] learned a lot and enjoyed the presentation very much. It was a wakeup call for them. They are now much more aware of their solar exposure, the consequences of un protected UV exposure, the proper use of sun screens, and steps they can take to limit cancer causing solar radiation.
Larry Grimes, PhD Sierra High School
Jessica [the presenter] gave a very energetic, informative, and well organized presentation to our students at Capistrano Valley High School. She is one of the best guest speakers we have ever invited to our health classes and hope that she will return.
Don Cholodenko Capistrano Valley High School
The kids spend every day of their summer outside in the sun, and it's so important to have the partnership with [the program] to help prepare the kids to be out there...they teach the kids in a way that's fun and interactive on how to be sun safe
Mike Halphide Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Program
[The program] is an excellent opportunity for my students to be exposed to vital information that is incredibly relevant. Being a beach school, tanning is a common thing. This information can truly save lives. My students enjoy and learn from the presentations. In addition, seeing UCI students that give back to their community provides excellent role models for my students
Bob Dreifus Huntington Beach High School
The program teaches kids about skin cancer and ways to protect us from the damaging sun exposure. They identify with the subject as we are all in the sun and the interaction during the presentation between students and is excellent
Tim O'Brien Northwood High School
[The program] provides a much needed message for my Health Classes. Teens need to be made aware of the dangers of overexposure to the sun, especially since we live in Southern California. The students have had a positive response to the program. They appreciate the message.
Jason Lynch Newport Harbor High School
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