Denise Cole, Bright Pink Educational Ambassador
After learning that she carries the harmful BRCA1 mutation, Denise Cole decided to become proactive, both with her own health (she underwent a double mastectomy in 2012) and in the lives of others. She was drawn to the empowerment messaging of Bright Pink and decided to sign up in her hometown. Since 2013, she has been a Bright Pink Education Ambassador, where she educates groups of women (and men) on prevention and early detection strategies. Her goal is to reach 2,000 women with lifesaving information this year alone.
Q: What do you tell your daughter about living a healthier, happier and longer life?
A: I talk with my nine-year-old daughter about making smart choices now when it comes to what she eats, how she exercises, and who she chooses to have around her. I share with her tips about moderation (you have to eat well, but a sweet here and there is ok!), building a strong body, and having strong, supportive friends who will always be there. Friendship and laughter go hand in hand.
Q: How do you empower your daughter to live proactively at a young age?
A: My daughter knows that I have the BRCA mutation and that she has a 50/50 chance of having the mutation herself. We have open discussions in our family about what you need to tell a doctor when you have a concern, which will help her as she grows up to learn to advocate for herself. As she gets older, we will also start to have more discussions about how combining the healthy lifestyle she has maintained throughout her life, along with selecting the right health care provider, can help her live a proactive lifestyle.
Q: How do you educate your daughter about her risk factors for breast and ovarian cancer?
A: As a Bright Pink Education Ambassador, my daughter has heard my Bright Pink Brighten Up presentation, both while I have practiced and when I have presented it in front of others. She has been very open with me about her own questions about breast and ovarian cancer. I have always shared with her our family history, and I have adopted a very honest and upfront approach when answering her questions. I want her to be as informed as possible and to know she can always come to me with additional questions as she thinks of them and as she goes through puberty.
Q: What’s the most powerful way you support your daughter?
A: My daughter never ceases to amaze me! She tackles anything in life with exuberance! I am excited to see how her passions in life continue to develop as she grows into a young adult. I try to just sit back and support her in all her interests╌art, sports, reading╌knowing this is her chance at life, and not to push her into any activities just because I think she would be good at them.
Q: What three words would you tell your daughter about the importance of living well?
A: Laughter, friendship, self-confidence.