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Making a Difference: Dean Hedstrom Foundation

4:10 PM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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Clearwater, FL - About two dozen kids and their coaches are practicing their swing at the Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy in Clearwater.

"We're out in the sun all day long obviously we're in Florida. It's hot it's humid and you don't think about applying sunscreen as often as you should," said James Poulter, Director.

It's hot, but at least there's shade, thanks to the Dean Hedstrom Foundation for Melanoma Awareness.

"Without the shade it would just take away from the programming that we do."

Dean's wife Kris started the foundation after Dean lost his battle to melanoma in April 2009 at the age of 52. He was a teaching golf professional and was exposed to sun daily.

"Then they found a spot on his back and they said it needed to be looked at right away, then they did the biopsy and it came back as melanoma," said Kris Hedstrom.

Kris says Dean protected himself from head to toe with sunscreen, but it was the shirt on his back that wasn't enough to shield him from the sun.

"He would put it on everywhere, but he never put it on under his clothing."

Now there's free cancer screening that's offered at local golf tournaments.

A golf instructor just like Dean, Tony Simpson followed up and was diagnosed with melanoma. Fortunately it was caught in time and he's now cancer free.

"I think I owe a lot of credit to that screening in November of last year."

Kris' foundation not only has donated sunshades, but she passes out sunscreen and lip balm to help protect these golf enthusiast from the sun, and these floppy hats, a replica of the one Dean wore while on the golf course.

"It's the coolest thing in the whole wide world to see these kids out here in the shade enjoying the sport that Dean loved."

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