After watching a grandchild’s soccer game and hearing a coach say drinking a sports beverage was more important than wearing sunscreen, Bill Barth knew he needed to do something to teach children about sun safety.
After a lot of research and speaking with professionals, the Johnson Lane resident founded the Skin Cancer Awareness Foundation in 2002.
“We call it awareness,” Barth said. “We want people to know we are not doctors or specialists, we strictly raise money for children’s educational programs.”
Using Molly the Mole as the foundation’s mascot, Barth designed a series of coloring and activity books where Molly teaches children about sun safety. The books are written by an artist in Australia, and edited by a dermatologist for accuracy.
“She’s the mother of children’s skin cancer education,” Barth said of his character.
Since its inception, the program has been requested at 6,200 schools throughout the United States, used in four foreign countries and translated into seven languages. In 2007, it was the recipient of the American Academy of Dermatology’s gold triangle award.
“It took off quicker than we thought,” Barth said. “Once we won the award, everyone in the U.S. found out about it.”
Books can be downloaded at www.skincaf.org.
Barth and his wife, Rocky, used sponsors and their own money to fund the program until 2005 when the sponsors dropped out.
To keep the foundation afloat, the Barths started the Bella Vista Berry and Fruit Farm in 2009 on their 10-acre property.
The following year, a freeze wiped out their crops.
Instead of giving up, the couple replanted — 400 blackberry plants, 300 apple trees, grapes and vegetables.
They are also in the process of converting their barn into a country store complete with an ice cream parlor, barbecue hamburgers and hotdogs, berries, honey, knickknacks, Mexican pottery, antiques and more.
The store should be open by July of 2014.
In the meantime, Bill and Rocky have organized a free concert featuring Lacy J. Dalton and All Hat No Cattle.
The Rock N’ Ribs event is 5 p.m. Aug. 17 in the St. Gall Pastoral Center, 1343 Centerville Lane in Gardnerville.
The goal of the concert is to raise money for a 20-foot-by-30-foot fabric shade cover to be given away to a Valley school.
The foundation is partners with USA Shade & Fabric Structures to help cover schools and outdoor recreation areas with shade structures.
“Sunshades are a big thing right now,” Barth said. “Schools don’t have enough shade cover, and between 10 and four o’clock is when you need it.”
Applications will be available at the concert for schools to fill out.
A rib or chicken dinner including cole slaw, baked beans and corn on the cob will be for sale for $15 as well as wine, beer and soft drinks.
There will also be a silent auction and raffle with prizes such as a side of beef, M.S. Dixie cruise tickets, landscaping gift certificates, 28-foot tall Austrian pine trees, glider rides and dinner for 10 with Lacy J. Dalton.
“She (Dalton) is a big supporter of the program,” Barth said. “We want people to find out what the Skin Cancer Awareness Foundation is doing.”
The concert is free, however, food and drink tickets go on sale Aug. 2 at Curves, Penny Lane, A Wildflower, and Louie’s Mandarin Gourmet.
For more information about the concert, visit www.bellavistaberryfarm.com.