KISSIMMEE, Fla. – A 16-year-old Girl Scout is creating a nonprofit to educate hundreds of teenagers about the dangers of skin cancer.
Sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses: Jacklyn Dougherty has been packing these items into small educational kits.
"I had to make like 600 of these," she said.
Dougherty, along with the Boys & Girls Club of Kissimmee, has been handing out the "Sun Kits" to hundreds of students at high schools in Osceola County.
Each one is wrapped in labels with her brand “Pink Ladybug,” along with the link to her website created to spread skin cancer awareness.
“Because it didn't really hit in their family yet, well they got educated about it because of me,” said Dougherty.
Her grandfather who she affectionately called “Poppy” has battled different types of skin cancer. And while the kits were certainly memorable for teens, she hopes they walk away with a more powerful message about the real risks associated with melanoma.
"It’s a deadly form of skin cancer, and I got this from having too much sun," said Jack Dougherty, her grandfather.
In order to buy all the supplies for the Sun Kits, Dougherty used her own birthday money and spent hours wrapping and packing each bag.
Her goal was to reach 20 students in order to qualify for the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council Gold Award, but soon after she started she was getting calls back from events and organizations in her community welcoming her presentation.
"I actually really got emotional, I, like, cried every time I brought up my grandfather got skin cancer,” said Dougherty, “because it's really close to my heart.”
But she fought through the tears, in every presentation, knowing that if one student heard her message about skin cancer she could save a life. After all her hard work, Dougherty gave her presentation to 600 kids in Central Florida.
On June 9, the Girl Scouts presented Dougherty with the Gold Award, the highest achievement earned by Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. It was her sixteenth birthday, and Dougherty’s grandfather stood in the audience.
Just like the pink ladybug in all her kits, Dougherty’s message is taking off.
"I wanted to turn it into a nonprofit, and make it into a nonprofit organization to make it everlasting. I didn't want to just stop where I just taught the 600 students. I kind of want to make sure I touch everybody about skin cancer," Dougherty said.