Medical students at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine are hosting the fourth annual non-profit Sun Smart 5K run for skin and heart health on Saturday at Crandon Park.
The run — which can be walked — aims to raise money for the Anna Fund for melanoma and skin cancer research at the University of Miami Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery and Team for Life, Miami’s Public Access Defibrillation Program, which places life-saving heart devices throughout the city.
Joseph Kaplan, 22, is a co-director of the race, along with Shailee Patel, 26, and Monika Freiser, 24. Last year, they raised nearly $10,000.
“Through this race we’re able to promote both health and wellness in the sense that we’re having people come out and participate in an active event and we’re also able to raise money for two other causes that are both medically oriented and that can help save people’s lives,” Kaplan said.
Skin cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed in this country each year. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for more than 76,600 cases of skin cancer in 2013.
Dermatologists from the medical school will provide free skin cancer screenings in private booths during the race.
“Each year we have around five or so people that the doctors find potentially pre-cancerous marks on their skin,” Kaplan said. “So we could potentially be saving around five people’s lives just based on that right there.”