District Approves Sunscreen Dispenser Project

BOCA RATON – The Boca Raton Beach and Parks District made 13-year-old Brooke Diamond's Mitzvah project a reality, potentially helping to protect thousands of community residents from melanoma in the process.

The District approved Diamond's plan to install four sunscreen dispensers in District parks and agreed to cover the cost of the sunscreen.

“Diamond’s desire to make a difference in our community inspired the board,” District Executive Director Briann Harms said. “By supporting her project, we encourage youth to engage in outreach while simultaneously helping protect our community. We are proud of her and happy to support this important initiative.”

After losing her grandfather, Alex Morgenstern, to melanoma, Diamond set her sights on a project that would help protect people from one of the fastest growing forms of cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, incidences of melanoma have doubled in the United States over the last 30 years.

“I don't think enough people, even in Florida, know the dangers of the sun - and we live here,” Brooke's mother Lauren Diamond said during a presentation to the District. “It is astounding that one person dies of melanoma every hour.”

Brooke raised enough money, more than $2,000, to provide two sunscreen stands, and to supply one filling of sunscreen for each stand.

When Brooke and Lauren made their presentation at the District's Oct. 9 meeting, commissioners immediately saw the value.

“I'd love to see this as more of a holistic project for all of the area,” Commissioner Craig Ehrnst said. “So if that means another way of doing it instead of us individually putting one up here, one there, I'd rather work with the city to see how we can do this across the city.”

That idea excited Lauren.

“When Commissioner Ernst said he wanted to be comprehensive, it was surreal - couldn't even process that in my head,” Lauren said. “This was just something that we were hoping for one or two or three. He's hoping that it could be everywhere. It's very overwhelming.”

Each stand costs $500 and filling a stand adds an additional $500 per fill, dispensing approximately 5,000 applications of sunscreen.

Upon hearing the costs, Ehrnst proposed that the District provide funding for the actual sunscreen, allowing Brooke's fundraising to purchase a total of four stands, two for Sugar Sand Park and two for the Boca Raton Swim and Racquet Center.

Brooke called that idea “awesome.”

“If we can keep our money [dedicated] to installing them and [the District] can fill them and keep them filled, it's going to protect so many people,” Brooke said.

The District voted unanimously to approve the project at its Nov. 4 meeting.

Brooke Diamond presents her sunscreen project to the District.