Local teen raises funds to make sunscreen available for free at area pools

Some pools in the St. Louis area have found a way to keep swimmers safe, thanks to a local high school student.

Lynly Brennan, 16, raised funds for sunscreen dispensers to be installed at Clayton’s Shaw Park Aquatic Center, The Maplewood Family Aquatic Center, and University City’s Heman Park Pool.

Brennan, a student at Nerinx Hall High School, said the idea to make sunscreen available to the public came after she conducted a research project about tanning beds.

“Really, what’s more valuable than talking about sun and skin cancer?” she asked. “I thought if I got the funding it’d be so easy just to put [dispensers] in pools.”

She discovered that the city of Boston had raised funds to install dispensers at its pools and parks.

So, Brennan went to work.

“I sent 43 letters to local dermatologists, local pool patrons, and local people who I thought would really enjoy this idea,” she said.

The response was overwhelming.

“I was honestly, really surprised. Because I’m just a high school student. I wouldn’t really expect people to have this sort of feedback. But it really sparked,” Brennan said.

Brennan managed to raise approximately $1,600 to cover the cost of dispensers and sunscreen at five pools.

She hopes the addition of sunscreen – free of charge – makes a difference for pool visitors.

“Just by applying sunscreen. If you apply 30 SPF and wear it regularly, it actually decreases your chance of getting skin cancer by 80%, which is amazing,” she said.

The addition of sunscreen dispensers comes as temperatures reach triple digits this week.

“The sunrays can certainly be damaging to your skin. And causing skin cancer,” City of Clayton Aquatic Supervisor Karen Herbig said. “This week, in the 100’s. And the heat index is pretty warm.”

News of Brennan’s idea is sitting well with pool visitors.

“It’s a kind of thing that we can take pride in. That we have such great students,” Allison Thomason said. Thomason’s daughter is a lifeguard at the pool.

Note: The pool at Heman Park is currently closed due to a mechanical error. The pool is expected to re-open next week.