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Always For Me Interview’s Lindsay Avner Founder and Board Chair of Bright Pink (Ovarian and Brest Cancer Charity)

August 14, 2018

AFM: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Lindsay: Well, I feel like I wear many hats. I started Bright Pink 11 years ago and ran the day-to-day operations during our first decade. I am so proud of the impact we have had on so many women’s lives.

I am fortunate to be married to a wonderful man, Gregg, and together, we are raising four children (Zach, Lexie, Abby, Lucy) and in a couple weeks will be expecting our fifth, a baby boy! I love being active, working out, going on walks, traveling and spending time with the diverse friends I have collected from various chapters of my life.

 

AFM: What drove you to start Bright Pink?

Lindsay: I have a very strong family history of both breast and ovarian cancer. My grandma and great-grandma died a week apart at ages 39 and 58, respectively, from breast cancer and my mom is a 24-year breast cancer survivor and a 23-year-ovarian cancer survivor. She is truly my greatest hero!

When I was 23, I found out I carried the BRCA1 gene mutation, indicating I had up to an 87% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and up to a 54% risk of ovarian cancer.

In 2006, I made a difficult decision to undergo a risk-reducing double mastectomy, making history as the youngest woman in the country to ever undergo the procedure. During that time, I asked myself: “Why do we wait until women are diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer to take action?” and started Bright Pink to help other women know their risk and take life-saving proactive action against the diseases.

 

AFM: How has your life been changed since starting Bright Pink?

Lindsay: When I started Bright Pink, I was this bright-eyed, bushy-tailed 23-year-old who was career-driven (I started my career in brand management at Unilever), passionate and determined to make a difference in the lives of women nationwide.

I lived in the city by myself and could go all-in, at all times, with the organization. I like to tell my older kids that I used to be very cool ☺ Now, I live in the suburbs and day-to-day life is really focused on our kids. I’ve traded the fancy parties and pink dresses for toddler music class in my workout gear.

And while life is indeed different, I feel really thankful to get to be a hands-on mom and still have a chance to make a difference and influence Bright Pink at a Board level; the organization will always, always be my “first born!”

 

AFM: Do you have a favorite event that Bright Pink hosts or is involved with?

Lindsay: There is no way I could pick just one! I love that so many different companies find unique ways to support Bright Pink and Always for Me is a perfect example. Bright Pink is incredibly fortunate to have amazing support from large companies, small businesses, and individuals all helping to further Bright Pink’s mission.

 

AFM: How can someone support Bright Pink or get involved?

Lindsay: Bright Pink is super unique in that, unlike several other charities where you are being asked to help someone else, the first way to get involved is to take steps to really make a difference in your own breast and ovarian health.

AssessYourRisk.org is our 19-question quiz that combines family health history and lifestyle questions to give you an initial assessment of your risk level for breast and ovarian cancer and what you can do to take action. Next month, we anticipate having our 1,000,000th person complete the quiz!

• Sign up for monthly Breast Health Reminders, our text message reminder to check in with your breasts and be breast self-aware. Simply text PINK to 59227 to subscribe! (terms and conditions apply)

• If you have not visited the doctor this year, be sure to schedule your annual well-woman exam and plan to come prepared with questions to partner with your doctor. Bright Pink can help you prepare for your annual so you go into it with confidence. Of course, after you have made the commitment to be proactive about your own health, we would love to have you support others in making the commitment as well: • Donate to fund Bright Pink’s life-saving breast and ovarian health programming at http://bit.ly/DonateBrightPink

• Follow us on social media at @BrightPink (Facebook) and @BeBrightPink (Twitter and Instagram)

• Share BrightPink.org and the AssessYourRisk.org quiz with a woman you love. It could save her life!

 

AFM: What do you want women to take away from Bright Pink and its message?

Lindsay: We are so blessed to have the opportunity generations of women before that we never had: the chance to know our risk and do something about it.

I love how solution-oriented our generation is. Let’s embrace our responsibility to do everything in our power to reduce our risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer or detect these diseases at early, non-life-threatening stages.

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