Ashley motivated a group of friends to join her for a 5k and raised $7,000! Run any race and support Bright Pink.
All my life I knew my paternal grandmother’s history with fatal breast and ovarian cancer. She passed away in her 40’s, which resulted in my dad losing his mother at the age of 18. I always knew that she had either been dealt a really bad set of cards or had a genetic mutation.
I decided to ask my doctors about genetic testing. I spoke with a doctor about my paternal family health history and she told me that I had nothing to worry about because it was on my father’s side. As you can imagine, her explanation didn’t sit right with me, so I explored more on my own and learned that this was not true! I left that doctor’s practice and went to another one. My new doctor encouraged me to find out about the BRCA mutation and advised me to get tested. Shortly after that talk, I was walking out of her office with a bandage on my arm and genetic testing pamphlets to take back to my office.
Those next few weeks were torture. I was connected with a genetic counselor on the phone, who screened me and asked extensive family history information. She shared how uncommon testing positive for a BRCA mutation was and I felt very optimistic, until I received her next call:
“Well, Ashley, I wish I had some better news to share with you but unfortunately, you tested positive for BRCA 1 mutation. This mutation increases your chance of breast cancer to 80% and ovarian to more than 50%.”
After the news settled in, I started taking action with preventive measures, including annual MRI’s and 6 month ovarian screenings. In January I will be undergoing a preventive double mastectomy and even though I’m absolutely terrified, I’m also excited to beat my odds with new modern medicine and surgery.
Bright Pink has always been an organization that I was familiar with for women’s health. I’ve always admired Lindsay Avner’s story of creating a non-profit organization after she struggled to find her own resources at a young age to survive the BRCA mutation. I’m not the biggest runner, but, I had never felt more excited or passionate when it came to running the Life Time 5K on September 24 for Bright Pink. To be a 26-year-old woman, who is healthy and cancer-free, I found it a privilege to run for women everywhere, especially women who have or had cancer or are BRCA positive.
I see this race as a way to restart and officially tackle the journey ahead of me. I know my journey is going to be a lot longer than 3.1 miles but I’m ready for it.
I have been so inspired by everyone’s selflessness and dedication to raising funds for this cause so near and dear to me. From friends choosing to spend their Sunday running a 5K, to family and friends donating to my page, and to my father’s hardware store in New York whose employees worked tirelessly to donate from their own paycheck to support Bright Pink, just means so very much. Every dollar counts and I was so honored to raise these funds for a group that is so passionate about supporting women’s health.
The power of sharing your story is so incredibly important. In less than 48 hours of sharing my story, we successfully raised more than $7,000 for Bright Pink!
On Sunday, September 24, my team and I ran. We ran for all the women out there who have lost their lives to breast and/or ovarian cancer. We ran for women recovering on a couch this very moment because they chose a preventive surgery. We ran for women who are still grasping their diagnosis and finding the best plan of action for them. Funds raised will give the next person the opportunity to receive the best care and support as they navigate their own journey.
It’s incredibly important that these resources continue to be available to women everywhere.
As someone who was absolutely scared and put off genetic testing until I was 25, I understand the fear that comes along with it. I chose to undergo genetic testing when I was in the prime of my career, finally getting settled into my skin and embarking on a relationship with someone who has still stuck by me through my crazy rollercoaster of emotions. Basically, I received the heaviest but most important news of my life at the worst possible time. But I’ve learned life is still really great after finding out my news. I now get to take control and beat the odds of cancer. My biggest dream is to get married and have children. I couldn’t imagine having that dream get squashed or shortened because I didn’t have this information available to me to save my life.
If you are reading this and have family history with breast or ovarian cancer, please get tested. I get to keep my life and live it to the fullest. If anything, I say I’m pretty darn lucky.
Fall races are coming up! Whether it’s a turkey trot, marathon, or bike ride; it’s easy to support to Bright Pink!