“Bright Pink” Founder Lindsay Avner Speaks Out to #KickCancersAss

Statistics say that 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. They also say that 2/3 of those diagnosed will die. But here at iLoveKickboxing, we believe that women are more than just walking figures. We also believe that, by working together to support one another, we can achieve the impossible.

That’s why, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Mont, ILKB and BrightPink.org, a national non-profit focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women, are teaming up to #KickCancersAss!

In an effort to raise funds for BrightPink.org, ILKB has designed a special-edition line featuring the message “Hope, Fight, Cure,” which is available when you donate to the campaign at http://www.ilovekickboxing.com/bca. Here’s the breakdown:

● Donate $25 and receive a wristband
● Donate $50 and receive a wristband and a hat
● Donate $75 and receive a wristband, a hat and a T-shirt
● Donate $100 and receive a wristband, a T-shirt and a hoodie

But before you go running to the website, take a moment to read our eye-opening interview with Bright Pink Founder and CEO Lindsay Avner, who made history in 2006 as the youngest patient ever to opt for a preventive double mastectomy. She then went on to launch Bright Pink, which has reached more than 20 million women to date.

Read on to discover Lindsay’s truly inspirational story, and learn other ways you can take charge of your life and health today.

lindsay-avner

At just 23, you made the decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy, making you the youngest woman in the country to have the procedure. That’s pretty kick-ass! What led you to your decision?

I have a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer. Eleven women in my family have passed away from these diseases. With this information, I decided to undergo genetic testing to better understand my personal risk. The results showed I tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation, giving me up to an 87% risk of breast cancer and up to a 54% risk of ovarian cancer. I didn’t want to wait to get cancer so I chose to undergo a risk-reducing double mastectomy.

Were you surprised by the outpouring of response?

Yes! Thousands of women reached out to me with a similar story. I knew I had to take action on behalf of all of us.

What then motivated you to start Bright Pink a year after your mastectomy?

Throughout my journey, I had a hard time finding resources for women like me – healthy women that wanted to take proactive action to live a healthy life. I started Bright Pink to empower women with the resources and information they need to be proactive advocates for their breast and ovarian health at a young age.

By the way, we have to know what inspired the name ‘Bright Pink.’ So upbeat!

Bright Pink has a unique approach. We communicate this life-saving information in a really empowering and inspirational way that gets women to take action. The ‘Bright’ in our name was very intentional. It’s about being smart and positive.

As a founder and CEO, we imagine your days are pretty booked. How do you fit in time for your mental and physical health?

Exercise is my stress reliever and it reduces breast cancer risk, so I make it a priority. I make sure to go to a workout class after work on most days.

So, overall, how important are fitness and diet in cutting women’s chances of getting cancer?

Lifestyle factors like exercise and diet play a big role in determining a woman’s level of risk. For example, breaking a sweat for 30 minutes on most days of the week can reduce breast cancer risk by 10-20%. Similarly, eating a low-fat diet can decrease breast cancer risk. It’s so important than young women learn this information and make choices that build healthy habits at a young age.

Do you have any role models or mantras that keep you going when times get tough?

Bright Pink’s mission and my incredible team keep me going. I’m so passionate about what we do every day, and driven to save lives from these diseases.

What can young women do right now to be proactive regarding their breast and ovarian health?

1. Complete the AssessYourRisk.org quiz and share with a friend
2. Visit ExploreYourGenetics.org, our new digital tool that demystifies the genetic testing process
3. Sign up for Breast Health Reminders by texting PINK to 59227 – it’s just one text a month!

Does Bright Pink have any exciting new initiatives in the pipeline?

We JUST launched our new digital tool ExploreYourGenetics.org.  The site was created to serve as an informational “one-stop-shop” for women considering genetic testing. The information on the site demystifies the genetic testing process to ensure that all women feel informed and empowered to make a thoughtful, supported decision. Definitely check it out!

We want to hear what you’re doing to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Tell us in the comments below.

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