Lindsay Avner, Bright Pink Founder & CEO
In June 2005, right after graduating from the University of Michigan, Lindsay tested positive for a mutation on the BRCA1 gene. Vowing not to let the disease strike her, she opted to have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. Lindsay founded Bright Pink in January 2007 to share her experience and resources with other young women across the country.
Q: What would you tell your daughter(s) about how to live a healthier, happier and longer life?
A: I would tell them to know what is normal for their bodies and treat them well. Go to the doctor once a year, understand our family’s health history, speak up if something doesn’t feel right.
Go all in with life and truly show up with the best version of yourself. Find your passion and pursue it with all your heart. Mark Twain once said: "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." Figure out the why sooner, rather than later, and enjoy the journey.
Take risks, be bold, and fail fast. Perhaps most importantly, be in service of others. The more you give, the more full and rich your life will be.
Q: How would/do you empower your daughter(s) to live proactively at a young age?
A: Being proactive is all about playing offense, not defense. Being intentional about the outcome they want and building a plan to get there. For instance, setting Google reminders for when to check in with a friend. Making workouts be just as much part of the "schedule" as your weekly touchbase with your boss. Going to the doctor once a year for a well-woman’s exam, even when they feel perfectly healthy, to maximize all they can do to continue to stay healthy.
Q: How do you educate your daughter about her risk factors for breast and ovarian cancer?
A: It’s extremely important to have open communication when it comes to family health history to make sure they understand both parents’ medical histories. It’s also important to teach them how to be body-conscious in a positive way╌understanding what’s normal for their bodies. I like that they see an example in me that you can go through a risk-reducing double mastectomy and still feel really beautiful in your own skin. Finally, helping them to understand how specific choices, like taking birth control and making healthy choices when it comes to smoking and drinking can help decrease their risk.
Q: What’s the most powerful way you support your daughter?
A: I always make sure that they know they are never alone. I will always be there for them, to share in the best days and also the not-so-good ones. We’re in this together, I always say!
Q: What three words would you tell your daughter about the importance of living well?
A: Just two words! Brighten Up, which to me means be proactive, take charge and make it happen!