RECENT PINS

A Bright Pink Dream

The TodaysMama staff got to meet Lindsay this summer at BlogHer – the energy with which she advocates for the health of young women was extraordinary to see first hand. See what led her to start Bright Pink in our latest Dream Big.

Name
Lindsay Avner

City / State
Chicago, IL

What was your big dream?
To launch a national movement by starting Bright Pink (www.BeBrightPink.org), a non-profit organization that encourages women to be proactive advocates for their breast and ovarian health.  The organization currently has +10,000 members, 8 education and support programs, and is supported by wonderful corporate partners such as Orbit White Bubblemint gum and Dove shampoo.

How did you accomplish it?
When I first started the organization, I was working full time and working on the organization on the side for the first year and a half. I found some wonderful mentors who really took me under their wing and was always networking and telling people about the organization and asking if they would play a part (or knew someone who would want to).  Our original team of volunteer leaders are still very involved today. It has been exciting for so many of us to build something wonderful from the ground up!

Where did you find inspiration to get started?
I have always been very involved in philanthropic work and have volunteered. When I was 22, I tested positive for the BRCA1 genetic mutation, putting me at up to an 87% lifetime risk for developing breast cancer and a 54% risk for developing ovarian cancer.  In an effort to avoid breast cancer, I opted for a preventative bilateral mastectomy.  As a young, single woman just beginning my life, I was scared and all alone.  While I wasn’t a survivor, I also was not like everyone else. I created Bright Pink as a resource and community so that no other young woman would have to go through a similar experience alone.

What motivated you to keep going?
The impact I could tell we were having. There is something life-changing about having the opportunity to help a young woman who is scared and uncertain (perhaps because she has just lost a mother or sister to cancer, just tested positive for the breast cancer gene, etc) become a proactive advocate for her health.  Our organization exists to bring brightness and clarity into women’s lives by helping them develop a strategy to detect breast/ovarian cancer at a non-life threatening stage or prevent these diseases all together.

What’s your next Big Dream?
To continue to learn more about myself and contribute to the world in a big and meaningful way.

Who is your hero?
My mom.  She is a two-time cancer survivor (she had breast cancer 15 years ago and ovarian cancer 4 years ago).  For all that she has gone through, she is still the most upbeat and positive person who I have ever met. She wakes up excited every morning excited for what the day may hold. She has every right to be bitter and angry and instead, she could not be more grounded, grateful and giving to others.

What do you wish you did better?
I wish I was more patient and wasn’t so hard on myself. I have to constantly remind myself to slow down and that not everyone moves at a million miles a minute.

What book is on your night stand?
I feel so embarrassed to say, but I can’t remember the last book I read. I do have a pretty impressive stack of magazines…everything from Glamour and US Weekly to Time and Newsweek.

What is your favorite lipstick?
Anything Bright Pink. Original, I know.

What is your favorite quote?
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, he became a butterfly”  It always reminds me that no matter how tough things may seem, they always get better and there is always a light at the end of any tunnel!

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