October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and here at StyleCaster, we’re highlighting a very special organization: Be Bright Pink.
Founded in 2007, Be Bright Pink aims to educate young women about breast and ovarian health in a fresh and — for lack of a better word —”bright” way. The organization also supports “high-risk” women as they make important decisions about their future health.
The founder of Be Bright Pink, Lindsay Avner, knows about those decisions first-hand. When Lindsay Avner was just 23 years old, she became youngest-ever patient in the U.S. to choose to undergo a risk-reducting double-mastectomy with reconstruction, after having seen her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother diagnosed with breast cancer.
This month, we’d like to celebrate all that Avner and her organization have done for breast cancer awareness by doing our own part to both raise awareness and donate to the cause.
Here’s where you come in: For every person that “loves” this post (look to the left of your screen and click the SC Love button) — thusly sharing it with her or his friends and helping to spread the word — StyleCaster will donate one dollar to Be Bright Pink. That’s right, folks, we’re going dollar-for-love for the rest of October—donating up to $1,000.
So what are you waiting for? Love this post and spread the word! And for more information about Avner and Be Bright Pink, read our interview with the forward-thinking founder below:
StyleCaster News: When you were only 23, you opted to have a risk-reducing double mastectomy with reconstruction. What spurred that decision?
Lindsay Avner: My grandmother and great grandmother died a week apart, both from breast cancer at the ages of 39 and 58, before I was even born. When I was twelve, my mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer and ten months later with ovarian cancer. We are so lucky that she survived both. In May 2005, I underwent a genetic test that told me I tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation, placing me at up to an 87-percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and up to a 54 percent lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer.
I was devastated and terrified but tried hard to see the information as more of a blessing than a burden. I moved to Chicago and enrolled in a high-risk screening program, but even with the best tools out there, I felt as though I was just waiting to be diagnosed with cancer instead of doing something to actually prevent it.
Just 15 months later at age 23, I made a very personal decision to remove my healthy breasts in order to reduce my risk of developing breast cancer to less than one percent. I was the youngest patient at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York to make such a decision.
What inspired you to create Be Bright Pink?
It was during my journey that I realized the lack of resources for young women in a similar situation—those who were healthy and wanted to be do all they could to reduce their risk for breast and ovarian cancer or detect these diseases at early, non life-threatening stages. Being Bright Pink is all about being bright, being smart, being positive and being proactive with your breast and ovarian health. I launched the original Bright Pink website on January 2, 2007 in order to create a supportive, empowered community for young women and the organization continues to grow at record rates.
How is Be Bright Pink different from other breast cancer awareness initiatives?
Bright Pink encourages women to “be bright” with their health—to be smart, be positive and be in control of their breast and ovarian health. We have a warm, big sister approach and seek to educate young women about breast and ovarian cancer risk and strategies for prevention and early detection. We also provide support to high-risk individuals as they navigate their individual journeys. We are trying to reach an entire generation of young women who don’t have cancer and do everything in our power to make sure that they don’t develop the disease or are able to detect it at an early, non life-threatening stage.
You guys have several web-friendly / social media-focused elements to your campaign — how are you using those to better connect with your target demographic?
Social and digital are perfect platforms to reach young women with our lifesaving message. These channels’ innate sharability, the short succinct simplicity of messaging, and the potential to marry information with attention grabbing graphics allow us to share our message in a relatable way, and provide young women with tangible ways to assess their risk, and develop proactive strategies for the future.
Where does the money you raise go?
Through a dynamic array of innovative programs, we provide education, support and a sense of community for a better, brighter future. Funds raised allow Bright Pink to:
- Educate young women nationwide through our Little Bright Book Educational Booklet Series, Breast/Ovarian Health 101 Educational Workshops, Assess Your Risk tool, and community engagement initiatives.
- Support young women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer through our PinkPal® One-on-One Peer Support Program, Experiential Outreach Groups, Peer Forum, employment, legal and financial resources, and national chapter and ally network.
- Empower young women (and the medical professionals who care for them) with the tools they need to be proactive through our Emerging Medical Professional Workshops, Underwire Alerts Breast Self-Awareness Text Message Reminders, and Empowered Patient Guides.
If StyleCaster readers are interested in getting more involved with Be Bright Pink — or other breast cancer awareness initiatives — what would you recommend as a first step?
Visit us online at BrightPink.org to learn more about our education and support programs, how you can Be Bright Pink and be proactive with your own breast and ovarian health, and how to get involved with our efforts at a local level. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/BrightPink and follow us on Twitter @BeBrightPink.
If you could give our readers one piece of advice when it comes to breast cancer awareness, what would it be?
Get to know what you should be doing TODAY to be proactive with your breast and ovarian health by visiting BrightPink.org today. And if you are in the NYC area, please join us Wednesday night (10/17) at Lexicon for VIPinkNYC (info at VIPinkNYC.com.)