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Assess Your Risk

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#BCAM, Assess Your Risk, Fueling our Mission, Prevention

A Pink Harvest with vineyard vines & Ocean Spray

On Wednesday, September 18, 2019 Bright Pink kicked off an exciting collaboration with Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. & vineyard vines.

Ocean Spray hosted Bright Pink and vineyard vines in Rochester, MA at one of their farmer-owned cranberry bogs. Our “Pink Cranberry Harvest” included a first ever vineyard vines whale made completely of cranberries.

We are so pleased to team up with these iconic family brands both of whom have been touched personally by our cause and are committed to bringing our mission directly to their customers nationwide. 

Ocean Spray will use their brand power to raise awareness and educate women, together with Bright Pink, throughout the year on a college campus tour, around Mother’s Day and during family history month.

“It is always gratifying to see two of our partners join forces to further our mission,” said Katie Thiede, CEO of Bright Pink. “Through their generous commitment, we will have the power to educate and equip women across the country on their breast and ovarian cancer risk. Together, we will create a more beautiful and brighter future.”

This is not the first fall that vineyard vines has generously committed to supporting our mission. For the third year in a row, vineyard vines and Bright Pink have built a partnership that stays true to each of our brand’s core values. Bright Pink’s mission is naturally woven into the vineyard vines story due to their founders’ personal connection to our cause. Unlike traditional cancer organizations, Bright Pink’s focus on prevention aligns well with vineyard vines’ lifestyle brand because both are positive, empowering and approachable. This year, they will be fueling our mission by donating 20% of proceeds from their Bright Pink Collection throughout the month of October.

Additionally, vineyard vines will go beyond a financial contribution and share Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk tool with all of their customers. They are taking our motto of awareness + action to heart, and together we have made it easier than ever to be proactive—just text “BRIGHTER FUTURE” to 59227 to assess YOUR breast and ovarian cancer risk today.

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#BCAM, Assess Your Risk

Cavya’s Recipes to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Did you know? Recent research shows that more than 40% of cancer deaths could be prevented through lifestyle strategies, like healthy eating or self-exams. For those of us with breasts and ovaries, it’s never too early to develop a personalized plan for prevention. It all starts with becoming aware of our unique risk factors. Family history, physical features, and daily habits can all impact our chances of developing cancer.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re encouraging everyone to #AssessThenAct: take the Assess Your Risk quiz, and then create a preventative action plan to protect your health. Get started in just 5 minutes today.

Take the Assess Your Risk Quiz

What I Ate In A Day (to reduce my risk of breast & ovarian cancer) from Bright Pink on Vimeo.

If you’re at a low, moderate, or high risk for breast or ovarian cancer, one of the simplest preventative strategies you can implement is embracing healthy eating habits. Whole grains and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables help keep our bodies healthy and reduce our chances of developing breast or ovarian cancer. To get you started, Bright Pink team member Cavya has shared some of her healthy, mouth-watering recipes below!

Bright Pink Smoothie Bowl

This super tasty smoothie bowl is a breeze to whip together and will probably make your Instagram dreams come true. And if that’s not enough to sell you, nutrient-packed ingredients like berries, tropical fruit, and flax seeds can help you lower your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. What more could you want?

Ingredients

  • Smoothie
    • ½ cup frozen strawberries
    • ¼ cup frozen raspberries
    • ½ cup greek yogurt
    • ½ cup almond milk
  • Toppings
    • ½ cup mango chunks
    • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
    • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
    • ¼ cup raspberries

Directions:

Blend together frozen berries, greek yogurt, and almond milk into a thick smoothie. Pour into a bowl and top with the remaining ingredients. Feel like a goddess of health and wellness.

Vegan Lentil Curry with Brown Rice

This quick and simple curry packs in tons of protein and flavor and is the perfect go-to for #MeatlessMondays. Consuming high amounts of red meat has been proven to increase your risk of breast cancer, so cutting down whenever possible is always a great idea. Plus, a ton of these ingredients is on our cancer-fighting grocery list

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of fresh, minced ginger
  • 1 jalapeño, diced with seeds removed (optional)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 dried red chili pepper (optional)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp whole or ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown rice

Directions:

Cook brown rice according to package directions. In a medium saucepan, saute onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño in olive oil until soft. Add in spices (mustard seeds, dried chili, turmeric, cumin, and curry powder) and let them toast for about 30 seconds. Add in diced tomato, coconut milk, water, salt, pepper, and lentils, simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft and fully cooked. Add in baby spinach and stir. Serve over brown rice garnished with cilantro, a lime wedge, and a side of your favorite veggie.

We know you’ll love these delicious, risk-reducing recipes. If you try them out, make sure to post your finished product on Instagram and tag @BeBrightPink so we can ❤️️your pic!

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#BCAM, Assess Your Risk, Early Detection, Hey Sis

Dr. Wendy McDonald: Live That Prevention Life

Prevention Tips & How Early Detection Can Increase Your Odds of Survival

Knowledge is power. Every year for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, folks across the country take part in essential conversations about protecting our health and happiness. Through these conversations, they start to build self-knowledge—and this year, Bright Pink wants to take awareness to the next level.

This year, Bright Pink is all about Breast Cancer ACTION Month. Turn to Bright Pink throughout October to access the tools you need to be all about it, too.

To get started, all-star OB/GYN and blogger Dr. Wendy McDonald, aka Dr. Every Woman, breaks down how to turn self-awareness into cancer prevention, in plain language that everyone can understand. 

Check it out, and get your questions answered. And make sure to read all the way to the end to see the next step to protect your bright future during Breast Cancer Awareness &  ACTION Month! And, stop by Bright Pink’s Facebook page to watch our Facebook Live with Dr. Wendy.

How Early Detection Can Protect You from Breast Cancer

Dr. Wendy: First, we need to review what early detection means. 

Stage 0 and Stage 1: Both Stage 0 and Stage 1 breast cancer have over a 99% 5-year survival rate.  That means that in the 5 years after diagnosis, 99% of people will still be alive. 

Stage 2: Now, in Stage 2, the breast cancer has either spread to the lymph nodes or is significantly larger. The 5-year survival rate for Stage 2 is 93%.

Stage 3: In Stage 3, the cancer is even larger or has spread to many lymph nodes. Now the 5-year survival rate has dropped to around 85%. 

This is why early detection is so extremely important. The earlier you detect a cancer, the more likely you are to beat it. 

So many people don’t want to find out that they have cancer because they think that it is a death sentence. Instead, they should think of early breast cancer detection as a new lease on life, an opportunity to beat cancer because it was caught early. That should be a thing. 

Tools to Prepare Yourself for Early Detection & Cancer Prevention
Dr. Wendy: Personal risk assessment are a great place to start! Risk assessments analyze information that you provide to predict your personal risk of breast cancer. These tools are extremely useful in identifying whether or not you need additional screening and testing above what is recommended for the average woman .

If you know that your first- or second-degree family member(s) had a certain type of cancer, you will be more prepared to screen and catch any abnormalities. Remember that the earlier you detect breast cancer, the more likely you are to survive and fight back.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re encouraging all women to #AssessThenAct: take the Assess Your Risk quiz, and then create a preventive action plan with your personalized results. It only takes 5 minutes!

Take Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk Quiz

Important Next Steps After Completing a Personal Risk Assessment
Dr. Wendy: Have a conversation with your doctor or healthcare provider. If your risk is elevated especially, further or different screening should be initiated.

Common Breast Cancer Risk Factors to Watch For, Especially in African American Women

Dr. Wendy: Research has shown that black women have significantly denser breast that caucasian women. Breast density refers to the amount of fibroglandular tissue present in the breast. “Fibroglandular tissue appears as white on the mammogram, making it difficult to visually detect breast cancers.” The increased density is noted even when other demographic factors like age, weight, and pregnancy history are factored in.

Increased breast density can absolutely make finding breast cancer harder. A breast cancer will also light up as white on traditional mammography, which can be hidden behind fibroglandular tissue. I often send my patients with dense breasts to have a 3-D mammogram and an ultrasound if needed. That different type of imaging, used in combination with mammography, can detect a higher number of abnormalities than traditional mammography alone. 

Dr. Wendy Weighs In On Why She Thinks People Don’t Assess Their Risk

Dr. Wendy: Lack of Family Health History: Honestly, I think that one of the barriers is knowledge of family history. Many families in various cultures just don’t share. If grandmother died of something, that was “her business.” 

Taboo Conversations: We also sometimes don’t want to “speak” illness, as if talking about it causes it in some way. While I believe in the power of positive thinking and prayer, we should be informed about what is going on in our family so that we can prevent or catch issues early in the future.

The Recommended Age for Assessing Your Risk

Dr. Wendy: 18 or younger. Why not? Ask your parents and extended family. Breast cancer family history, ovarian cancer, and colon cancer are all relevant, as are habits and personal characteristics.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re encouraging all women to #AssessThenAct: take the Assess Your Risk quiz, and then create a preventive action plan with your personalized results. It only takes 5 minutes!

Take Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk Quiz

A huge thank you to Dr. Wendy McDonald for helping us put together this guide to early detection, self-awareness, and risk factors! Check out more of her advice and work on her amazing website. And, don’t forget to visit Bright Pink’s Facebook page to watch our Facebook Live with Dr. Wendy.

P.S. Dr. Wendy wants to give a gentle reminder: men can get breast cancer, too.

REAL Self Love: 8 Actions You Can Take
#BCAM, #OCAM, Aerie, Assess Your Risk

REAL Self Love: 8 Actions You Can Take

In case you didn’t know, it’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month is just around the corner. Bright Pink is on a mission to move beyond Awareness to Action and Aerie is with us! AerieREAL is committed to women’s empowerment through self-love. What better way to love yourself than to take control of your health and well-being and manage your risk of breast and ovarian cancer?

Aerie Wants You to Take Care of Your Girls!
Before we share how you can make both little and big changes in your everyday life for a bright cancer-free future, know that the limited-edition sports bra, legging and hoodie you’ll see throughout this article, are all for sale and 100% of the proceeds benefit Bright Pink and our life-saving mission!

Shop the Aerie-Bright Pink Limited Edition Collection!

The first step towards prevention for anyone with breasts and/or ovaries is to assess our hereditary and lifestyle factors.

Aerie is also donating $1 for EVERY risk assessment through October. It takes only 3 minutes to take the quiz and learn your risk and receive personalized recommendations to manage your health proactively.

Assess Your Risk of Breast & Ovarian Cancer

Cancer is a formidable disease. But we do not need to live in fear. We have the tools to set ourselves up for long, happy, healthy lives. And we do this by thinking, talking and acting proactively to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer through a number of evidence-based actions.

Recent research shows that more than 40% of cancer deaths could be prevented through lifestyle strategies. Of those, early detection is among the most impactful.

When breast cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate can be 98%.

When ovarian cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate can be 92%.

close up of young woman in desert wearing Aerie and Bright Pink limited edition sports bra

The human body is amazing—and when we adopt strategies and practice daily habits that support the body’s natural disease-fighting instincts, we can reduce our cancer risk factors. Knowledge is power.

So here are 8 ways to be proactive when it comes to your breast and ovarian health.

1. Break a Sweat
Fitting in a quick 30-minute workout 5 day per week—or fewer, longer workouts if that’s more convenient—will help eliminate some of the estrogen-producing fatty tissue in our bodies.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of exercise, vigorous enough to break a sweat, each week. So grab a fitness buddy and your limited edition Aerie athletic wear and work it out.

young woman in yoga pose on desert rocks wearing Aerie and Bright Pink limited edition sports bra and legging

2. Fill Your Plate with Healthy Foods
A diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains reduces our risk of developing “invasive” breast cancer, a version of the disease that is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.

Improving eating habits doesn’t have to happen all at once; we suggest working with your doctor to decrease sugar consumption and introduce more fruits and vegetables, until you’re eating well and feeling great.

3. Maintain a Healthy Weight for You
Talk to your health care advisor about what a healthy weight means for you.

Scientific studies show that an excess of the estrogen hormone increases the risk of developing breast cancer. And maintaining a healthy weight is a way to keep your estrogen levels in check.

4. Find Alternatives to Happy Hour
Get in the habit of having no more than one alcoholic drink per day, or working towards eliminating alcohol completely.

Research shows that every additional standard-sized boozy drink per day can increase the risk of breast cancer. “Standard-sized” generally means a restaurant pour of wine, a can of beer, or a shot of liquor.

5. Say No to Smoke
There’s a direct correlation between tobacco use and ovarian cancer. In fact, smoking doubles our risk of developing the disease.

The good news is that quitting smoking can lower ovarian cancer risk to average levels within 20-30 years. That may sound like a long time, but it’s a great example of how the body can bounce back from unhealthy habits.

6. Ask Your Doc About the Pill
Research has shown that taking birth control pills for 5 years in our 20s and 30s—and it doesn’t have to be 5 years in a row—can reduce our ovarian cancer risk by up to 50%. That makes taking oral contraceptives, one of the most powerful methods of ovarian cancer risk reduction.

Side note: you may have heard that taking birth control pills can increase the risk of developing breast cancer. There is a minimal, but real, increase in the risk of breast cancer among women who use hormonal oral contraceptives for 5 or more years. Research indicates that this risk decreases over time after you stop taking contraceptives. However, as with most health decisions, the choice whether or not to take birth control pills is very personal. Talk with your healthcare provider to weigh the potential risks and benefits as part of your proactive plan.

Assess Your Risk & Aerie Will Donate $1 to Bright Pink

7. Know Your Normal
It can be hard to diagnose the symptoms of ovarian cancer, since they are so similar to symptoms of other problems. Try to stay aware of any digestion issues, pelvic or abdominal pains, or pains during intercourse that persist and prompt a visit to your doctor.

Check in with your breasts regularly to know what is normal for you. (the week after your period is a good time). Remember to cover all of your breast tissue (from your collarbone, out to your armpits, down to your breastbone) and notice any changes in size, shape, bumps, lumps, dimpling, or pulling that are out of the ordinary for you.

8. Assess Your Risk
Aerie is Donating $1 for EVERY Completed Risk Assessment. This is the time to take the 3 minute quiz.

When it comes to breast and ovarian cancer prevention, it’s essential to think, talk, and act proactively.

The first step towards prevention for anyone with breasts and/or ovaries is to assess our hereditary and lifestyle factors. By knowing our risk factors, we empower and protect ourselves. And by taking care of our bodies through healthy choices, we reduce our risk.

Right now, you can learn your personal cancer risk in just 3 minutes by taking the Assess Your Risk (AYR) quiz. Plus, AYR provides simple, personalized steps to take charge of your breast and ovarian health.

Try the tool that has helped more than 1.5 million women gain power over their health and plan proactively to protect themselves from breast and ovarian cancer.

Here’s a simple first step—take the Assess Your Risk quiz today!

Aerie Obsessed!
We can’t get enough of our latest collection with Aerie. It is so good! If you’re loving it as much as us, remember Aerie is donating 100% of the sales to Bright Pink—even more of a reason to shop before it’s gone.

Shop the Aerie-Bright Pink Limited Edition Collection!

Assess Your Risk, WNBA

The WNBA Teams Up With Bright Pink to Promote Breast Health Awareness

As part of Bright Pink’s ongoing efforts to put breast and ovarian health awareness into action, we’re excited to re-launch our partnership with the WNBA and its teams during WNBA FIT Month.

Bright Pink is a proud supporter of WNBA Breast Health Awareness (BHA), a campaign to promote the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer among young people. 

Each WNBA team will take part by hosting a Breast Health Awareness game, during which players will wear Nike BHA uniforms and on-court warm-up shirts.

Plus, to further spread awareness and encourage preventative action, Bright Pink and the WNBA are encouraging everyone with breasts and/or ovaries to participate in Assess Your Risk (AYR). The AYR quiz is a tool that helps individuals develop personalized plans to prevent breast and ovarian cancer.  

Take the Quiz

Over the last several years, more than 15,000 people have taken the Assess Your Risk quiz through the joint efforts of the WNBA and Bright Pink. Thanks to Assess Your Risk, those 15,000+ individuals have been empowered to develop strategies to reduce their risk and protect their health.

Assess Your Risk asks a handful of key questions about your body, family history, and daily habits—then gives you personalized recommendations for turning awareness into action. In just five minutes, you’ll take an important first step to reduce your risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Take the Quiz

Show your support by spreading the word about WNBA Breast Health Awareness: share this on social media, talk with your friends, and grab one of these exclusive Nike Breast Health Awareness shirts. The WNBA is donating 100% of its proceeds from the shirts to Bright Pink.

Purchase Your T-shirt

Knowledge is power. Thank you for supporting Bright Pink and the WNBA’s efforts to spread breast and ovarian health awareness, encourage prevention and early detection and save lives from breast and ovarian cancer.

Assess Your Risk, Uncategorized

Why Assessing Your Risk Is Still Important, National Authority Agrees

You’ve probably heard of USPS, but are you familiar with USPSTF? And no, we’re not talking about your mail.

Let us introduce you to the United States Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of independent, volunteer medical experts who provide evidence-based guidelines for preventive care. 

This group takes great care in weighing all the benefits, costs, and potential drawbacks of preventive actions before they present their final guidelines. When they say a screening or procedure is worthwhile, you can rest assured that there is plenty of evidence behind the statement. 

That is why Bright Pink is excited to share the USPSTF’s recent update regarding BRCA mutations screening. 

This week, the USPSTF announced that primary care providers should provide BRCA screening for women who a) have Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry or b) have a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer in addition to women who have a family history linked to breast and ovarian cancer. 

Knowing ourselves and our risks empowers us to take important actions to improve our health. Mutations in the Breast Cancer genes greatly increase a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer (up to 70%) and ovarian cancer (up to 50%). Women can manage and reduce these risks – but only if they know they have a BRCA mutation in the first place. 

Thanks to years of research, we know that certain women are more at risk of having a BRCA mutation. In the past, medical providers mainly relied on a family history of breast, ovarian, or related cancers to screen women for these mutations. 

We applaud this update to the guidelines, as it recognizes the importance of knowing yourself and the value of assessing your risk. Do you know your risk? It only takes 5 minutes to Assess Your Risk using our online tool. It’s an assessment approved by the National Society of Genetic Counselors that includes nationally recognized cancer screening criteria and other risk factors to help all women better understand their breast and ovarian cancer risk. 

The USPSTF’s update could affect you. Share your Assess Your Risk results with your provider to start a conversation about your breast and ovarian health and how you can create a personalized action plan so you can live healthy. Already assessed your risk? Make sure your family history is up to date by filling out our Family Health History form. Share it with your family and your provider to remind them that knowledge is power. 

Assess Your Risk

Take Your Health Into Your Own Hands

Bright Pink is a nonprofit like no other: We want to advance the conversation around breast and ovarian cancer beyond awareness to action. Our organization is built on a foundation of focusing on health, not cancer.

This October, we are launching a new and improved version of our digital quiz, Assess Your Risk, to better empower all women to learn their breast and ovarian cancer risk and manage their health proactively. While Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an excellent time to talk about breast health, Bright Pink is fiercely committed 365 days a year to ensuring women can be their own best health advocates. We have updated our flagship program, Assess Your Risk, to better equip women to do just that.

What’s new, you ask?

The tool is up-to-date with the latest National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines, has received the National Society of Genetic Counselor’s seal of approval, and includes new features such as:

  • A design facelift! We are using new colors and design elements to enhance your quiz-taking experience.
  • A better mobile experience so you can easily take the quiz on-the-go.
  • Results delivered to your inbox: A PDF version of your results will be emailed to you after taking the quiz so that it’s always at your fingertips.
  • Personalized results and risk-reduction recommendations–we do not believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach to breast and ovarian health. You’ll also be served up content and resources that meet you where you are in your breast and ovarian health journey. For example, if you don’t have a complete picture of your family health history, the quiz will generate your individual results based on lifestyle and personal health history, but then follow up with resources to support you in gathering any gaps in information if needed.
  • A new section on the results page called ‘Things we’re keeping an eye on,’ dedicated to informing you about ongoing research into additional factors that may contribute to your risk (i.g. IUD’s and other forms of birth control, transgender hormone therapy, and endometriosis, among others).
  • An enhanced user experience with a progress bar to guide you through questions organized by category of risk factors (family health history, personal health history, lifestyle).
  • New questions about race/ethnicity and health insurance to better tailor results and enhance the accessibility of follow up content.
  • New content and recommendations related to the elevated risk of triple-negative breast tumors and BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations amongst black women.

 

We’re super proud of this new and improved Assess Your Risk experience, and want everyone to see what all the hype is about. Shout out to our corporate partner, Deloitte, for sponsoring the development of this life-saving tool.

If you have already assessed your risk, you know how valuable that knowledge can be. But did you know you should reassess annually? Your breast and ovarian cancer risk can change over time and the medical community is always learning about new factors that affect our risk. If you haven’t taken the quiz yet this fall, there’s no time like the present to take your health into your own hands.

Bright Pink is committed to helping all women know and understand why it’s even important to know your breast and ovarian cancer risk in the first place. So, we teamed up with notable influencers across the nation to share their stories and inspire you to prioritize your breast and ovarian health. Shout out to Zeta Tau Alpha for sponsoring the development and distribution of these incredible videos. We dare you to watch these and not get instantly inspired.

If you skimmed this post (no judgement) and only walk away with one thing, know this: Bright Pink is here to help you take your health into your own hands, but being proactive starts with you. Take control of your breast and ovarian health first by taking Assess Your Risk, watching our inspirational videos, and stay connected to us and our work on social media. Your body thanks you!

 

Bright Pink founder, Lindsay Avner with Education Ambassadors Cailtin Lopez and Brittany Whitman
Personal Stories

A Bright Pink Education Ambassador’s Story: Caitlin Lopez

Interested in making a difference in the lives of young women? Become a Bright Pink Education Ambassador or PinkPal today. Read on for Cailtin Lopez’s story.

In my family, the only known case of breast cancer was my maternal grandmother when she was around 50 years old. She had a single mastectomy with no reconstruction and that was it. However, my gynecologist advised that I should consider genetic testing because of my family history of other cancers. My mother was tested first and when she received her results I immediately went in for testing. It was then that I discovered I am BRCA+.

I met with a genetic counselor and we discussed all of my options for prevention and early detection such as surveillance, medications, and surgery. She also introduced me to Bright Pink and suggested their PinkPal program which matches young women who are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer with fellow high-risk individuals. I immediately reached out and received a PinkPal. I was partnered with a wonderful woman who had been in my exact situation. She helped me feel confident, answered all of my questions, and made me feel at ease. Cailtin Lopez with her Bright Pink T-shirt

After my PinkPal helped me realize that I would be OK, I made a decision and a life plan of what I would do in regards to my BRCA+ status; I went through with surgery. After I recovered, I decided I was ready to support others.

I received a PinkPal in 2013 and I became a PinkPal in early 2014. It was important for me to provide that comfort for other women that my PinkPal provided for me. It’s nice to know that you have a support group when you’re going through something that affects your life so much.

I wanted to continue my journey of volunteering with Bright Pink so I attended Bright Pink University, a training program for volunteers, in the summer of 2014. There I learned how to present the Brighten Up Educational Workshop, which is a 30-minute presentation that covers the basics of breast and ovarian health, introduces the idea of different lifetime risk levels, and provides early detection and prevention strategies.

Completing Bright Pink University was one of the greatest things I have ever done. Not only has it been beneficial for me, but for others in my family and community as well.

I remember being nervous while waiting to present my first Brighten Up Workshop. It was at St John’s University in Queens. The group was really positive and asked lots of great questions.  I’ll never forget that group – and I have educated new groups at St John’s University every year for the last three years. They always welcome me with open arms.

Being informed is an important factor in order to be in control of your health.  I am honored and happy to be a part of an organization, like Bright Pink, that helps empower people to be proactive and teach them to take knowledge and turn it into something wonderful.

Caitlin Lopez after presenting a Brighten Up Workshop

While a goal of mine is to educate as many women as possible, I’m a huge fan of smaller groups too, because women (and men) tend to ask more questions, share their stories, and feel more connected. I love the feeling of helping women understand that they have control over their health and can choose to be proactive.

Empowering women is something I am truly passionate about.

Becoming a Bright Pink ambassador has empowered me and I love the fact that I can help people dig into their family history and question their doctors. I always want to help others, especially women, and Bright Pink helps me accomplish this. My own family health history and personal genetics push me to help others realize that they are in control of their health and they don’t need to be afraid of their genetic testing results. I want everyone to know they can help themselves and their families and choose to be proactive.

 

Caitlin was inspired to volunteer with Bright Pink because of her genetic testing journey and her drive to empower others.  Find out how you can make a difference in the lives of young women. Become a Bright Pink Education Ambassador or PinkPal today.

 

 

Assess Your Risk on smartphone
Community

Bright Pink + The Effies

At Bright Pink, we know that the work we do is powerful and life-saving, so it’s always great to be recognized for it. The campaign for our state-of-the-art digital tool, AssessYourRisk.org, was selected as a finalist for a Health Effie! The Effies recognize, “effectiveness in marketing communications, spotlighting marketing ideas that work and encouraging thoughtful dialogue about the drivers of marketing effectiveness.”

Bright Pink was selected as a finalist for “Too Important to “Go Viral” – Using Facebook Ads to Drive Predictable, Repeatable Impact” for Bright Pink in the category of Disease Awareness & Education: Advocacy.

AssessYourRisk.org is proving not only to be a life-saving tool, but the campaign surrounding it is being recognized as the very best in terms of effectiveness, and lets us know that our life-saving message is reaching an audience and inspiring people to actually take action. We’ve had over 80,000 people complete Assess Your Risk so far just this year, thanks in large part to strategic Facebook Ad campaigns created in partnership with our friends at Craft and Commerce.

What’s “AssessYourRisk.org?”

Understanding your risk is one of the most powerful things you can do today. AssessYourRisk.org is a digital tool to help you determine your personal level of risk for breast and ovarian cancer. It’s an online quiz comprised of 19 questions about family health history, personal health history and lifestyle factors.

“The work Bright Pink is doing is tremendous. I sent Assess Your Risk to my entire family and they were all blown away. It started a great conversation about breast cancer and prevention measures.” – Elizabeth M.

The quiz itself takes less than 5 minutes to complete and provides you with a customized assessment of your baseline risk for breast and ovarian cancer. You’ll learn what factors are working for you and perhaps those that aren’t benefitting you  You can print your results or even email them directly to your health care provider, all in an effort to begin or enhance conversations during your well-woman’s exam.

“Bright Pink provides a “report card” of sorts that tells you what factors are working in your favor so you don’t panic or feel helpless, then lists modifiable risk factors – things you can do to lower your cancer risk. I came out at “potentially high risk” and was advised to see a doctor or genetic counselor to confirm that your baseline risk truly is only increased, and not actually high. I appreciate the qualifiers.” – Ricki L, PhD

We are so honored to be selected as a finalist for a Health Effie award because of our efforts promoting AssessYourRisk.org. It’s just more reassurance that we’re on track to keep educating women and inspiring them to turn awareness into action. Now it’s back to work, because we’re not done saving lives yet!

Gina and Melissa
Personal Stories

“My sister was always there to help me, but now I had to be strong for her”

My sister, Melissa, is my best friend. I’ve always looked up to her and followed in her footsteps. As the oldest of four (we have two little brothers), she would always be bossing us around at home. I was like her little sidekick who would do whatever she wanted, no matter what. She always let me tag along with her friends and in high school I was always known as “Melissa’s little sister,” not Gina. Growing up, we were inseparable and would say to each other, “what do other girls without sisters do all day?”

On September 2nd, 2016, Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 31 and had discovered a lump while breastfeeding.

“The doctor told her it was probably nothing, but she had a gut feeling and went back a couple of weeks later to do more testing.”

Melissa decided to advocate for her health, and she found out that she had 100% estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. When Melissa noticed the lump in her breast, we all told her it was nothing. She was persistent that something wasn’t right, but even when we were waiting on the results I didn’t think it was going to be cancer. So when she was diagnosed, we were all in a state of shock and disbelief.

“I always heard about this happening to other people, and older women. Not my family. Not my sister. Not someone who is only 31 years old.”

Melissa went for her surgery about two weeks after being diagnosed, just 10 days before her son Niko’s first birthday. My mom took off work to go stay with her in New York to help with the baby. We all celebrated his first birthday while she had tubes hanging from her chest. Two days later, we found out that Melissa’s cancer had spread to one of her lymph nodes. It was devastating because we knew this meant that she needed further treatment.

After we got this horrible news, the roles that we played for each other as sisters switched. I was on the phone with her every day on my drive home from work. Building her up, giving her advice.

“She was always there to give me advice and help me, and now I had to be strong for her. I didn’t want her to know how scared I was, too.”

This journey has been so hard for all of us, but the worst part was waiting for the doctor visits. It was not knowing the plan of treatment and the fear of the unknown. She went to several doctors who were suggesting very aggressive chemotherapy treatments. She got several opinions and finally she decided to go with a milder form of chemotherapy.

After watching her endure chemotherapy every two weeks for the past few months, I am excited to say she finished her last treatment in February! We are all so excited to see her chemotherapy coming to an end and are hopeful for the future.

“To anyone who is dealing with something similar, know that this is only a temporary part of your life. Imagine yourself beyond the cancer. You will laugh again. You will get through this. This is not what defines your life.”

Melissa during her final chemotherapy session

Melissa during her final chemotherapy session

Watching my sister go through all of this really made me want to do something more. Something that could help other women and prevent them from going through everything Melissa has. She has been so strong through this long and trying process. That’s what inspired me to take on running my first marathon, and do it on Team Bright Pink.

“To all the young women out there who think that it won’t happen to you: assess your risk. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about your risk. Get checked, be breast self-aware, and let your doctor know if something doesn’t feel right. Don’t wait.”

I was introduced to Bright Pink a few years ago by a friend. After my sister was diagnosed I took advantage of the amazing tools that Bright Pink provides, like AssessYourRisk.org, and educated myself as much as I could. This experience really opened my eyes to how many young women are diagnosed with breast cancer. I think it’s so important that Bright Pink is so focused on educating women about breast and ovarian health at a young age. I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone else. I am so grateful that I still have my confidant, best friend and partner in crime here with me.

Melissa’s strength inspired Gina to run a marathon and help Bright Pink save women’s lives from breast & ovarian cancer. If there’s someone in your life who inspires you to be strong, visit TeamBrightPink.org to find out how you can dedicate your life-saving run in their honor.

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