Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 16, 2012

Bikini parade raises eyebrows in Minnesota

MADISON LAKE, Minn. — To the organizers of the World’s Largest Bikini Parade, it sounds like a fun way to raise money. To others, it’s not in keeping with a family tone.

The proposed walk is scheduled as part of the Paddlefish Days parade on July 28.

Organizer Cynthia Frederick is hoping to break the world record for number of bikini-clad marchers in a parade, which was set earlier this year in Florida at 450.

Not everyone likes the idea. “This parade shouldn’t have this image,” Madison Lake Councilman Chuck Ries said.

Councilors are also concerned about the charity that will benefit from the walk, called the Breast Cancer Natural Prevention Foundation. According to its website, the group advocates cancer prevention through sun exposure and higher vitamin D levels.

Ries said he’s not a doctor, but tanning as a cancer-fighting activity is “inconsistent with (his) understanding” of the science.

Frederick disagreed. “Whenever you’re going to do something new, people have a tendency to be scared, especially when they don’t have information,” she said.

She said medical studies have shown the cancer benefits of higher vitamin D levels “through exposing your skin to UVB light in a non-burning fashion.”

Dr. James Benzmiller, a dermatopathologist at the Mankato Clinic, said studies have shown a relationship between lower vitamin D rates and higher cancer rates. But science “has never proven that a lack of vitamin D causes cancer.”

Participants -- both male and female -- will pay between $20 and $25 each to walk in the parade.

“It’s not like it’s illegal, immoral or unethical,” Frederick said. “I think they’re going to find this was not the bogeyman they’re making it out to be.”

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Details for this story were provided by The Free Press in Mankato, Minn.

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