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American Academy of Dermatology Funds Shade Structure at Roma ISD’s Veterans Memorial Elementary School

It was another very warm and sunny day on September 12, 2019 at Roma ISD’s Veterans Memorial Elementary School. Children were laughing and playing, however they weren’t deterred by the beating of the 100-degree sun. They were enjoying a breezy, shady play day thanks to a grant from the American Academy of Dermatology’s Adopt-A-Shade program.


School and district officials were joined by local board-certified dermatologist Conner Chan, MD, FAAD, president of the Texas Dermatological Society, to celebrate the ribbon cutting and dedication of a permanent shade structure for the school’s playground. The shade structure—which was funded by the AAD’s Adopt-A-Shade program through a generous donation from the Texas Dermatological Society—will protect more than 500 students each day from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.


“We are thrilled to invite the public to join us as we celebrate this shade structure, which will help protect our students as they play outdoors,” said Veterans Memorial Elementary School Principal Leida P. Reyes. “Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, and this structure helps eliminate that risk, particularly when the sun’s rays are at its strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This is a vast improvement in play conditions for our students, and we sincerely thank the AAD and the Texas Dermatological Society for their consideration of this important need and their generosity in helping bring our dream to fruition.”


According to the AAD, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and it only takes one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence to nearly double a person’s chance of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, later in life. Seeking shade is an important way to reduce the risk of skin cancer, along with covering up and wearing a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. 


“Providing this shade structure is incredibly rewarding,” said Dr. Chan. “Children are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of the sun because of the time they spend outdoors. It’s great to see the community work together to protect our youth and teach healthy sun care habits, starting at an early age. We especially enjoyed watching the children play and enjoy the shade structure. Seeing it in action was a treat for all of us.”


The Adopt-a-Shade Program is part of the AAD’s SPOT Skin Cancer™ campaign to reduce the incidence of skin cancer by educating the public about effective skin cancer prevention tips. To learn more about the Shade Structure Program or for ways to prevent and detect skin cancer, visit