With the summer heat right around the corner, many fans will be packing into Citizens Bank Park for a summer of Phillies baseball. This year, one Phillies Hall-of-Famer is teaming up with officials for a brand new initiative in hopes of keeping fans from feeling the burn.
On Thursday, the city unveiled a new initiative to install sunscreen dispensers throughout Citizens Bank Park and in locations around Philadelphia. It's an effort make Philly a part of the Sun Safe America initiative.
Mayor Jim Kenney, joined by representatives from the Blue Cross and the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation, welcomed Phillies legend and Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt to present the initiative.
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Schmidt was the driving force behind the project, with a personal connection to the cause-- he was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma four years ago.
“I’m happy to say my body is cancer free, but I surely wouldn’t want to wish this onto anybody," Schmidt said.
12 dispensers will be placed throughout Citizens Bank Park and can be used at any event in the stadium.
“In baseball, it’s hard to escape the sun, which is why this is such an important cause to us,” Phillies Senior Vice President David Buck said.
Four sunscreen dispensers will be placed in locations around Philadelphia, as well. Three will be installed around Boathouse Row to accommodate the surge of joggers and sightseers in the area. The fourth dispenser will be placed in the City Hall courtyard.
The city hopes the dispensers an be a starting point to reduce skin cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in the United States.
Schmidt said while this is a good start, he hopes to see the city’s dispensers reach the hundreds in the near future, advocating for them to be installed in Philadelphia's parks and swimming pools.
Mayor Kenney said everyone should see the sights of Philadelphia, but protect themselves as well.
“Everyone should wear sunscreen when they go outside, even if it’s cloudy, even if it’s snowy. I’m glad that we have organizations in Philadelphia that care about this issue so greatly," Kenney said.
The Phillies will also host Melanoma Awareness Day on Sunday, May 28th in their afternoon game against the Cincinnati Reds, where a PSA that Schmidt produced for the cause will be played.