Meet Amber, a Bright Pink Genetic Counselor from California. Read on to learn more about how she became involved with Lindsay and the Bright Pink organization.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in Oceanside, CA, but recently moved from Chicago where I was fortunate to be part of the original Bright Pink family. I’m a cancer genetic counselor, so I deal with the issues surrounding being high risk on a daily basis. In my current role as Senior VP at InformedDNA, an organization that provides genetic counseling via telephone, I have the opportunity to work with policy-makers at hospitals and health plans. It’s been exciting to witness the public health impact when patients have greater access to genetics professionals who help guide them through the intimidating process of learning their risks. Outside of work, I’m happily married and a mom to two preschool boys, and in those rare spare moments I love singing, film, and reading!
How did you hear about/ get involved with Bright Pink?
I was fortunate to meet Lindsay Avner through the Northwestern Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program just a few months after Bright Pink was founded. I have always had a passion for promoting women’s health, and had worked in breast cancer research since college. Lindsay’s energy was so contagious that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to become part of an organization that not only had a mission I truly believed in, but also provided opportunities to do fun things in the city with interesting people. It has been amazing to serve on Bright Pink’s expert panel, and create some of the early tools that have made an impact educating so many young women.
Who or what has been the most important influence in your life?
My mother can take the credit for instilling in me the importance of tenacity with a positive attitude. Although my childhood self hated hearing phrases like “if there’s a will, there’s a way”, “there’s no such thing as can’t”, or “focus on the solution instead of the problem”, those principles have paved the way for any success I’ve achieved today.
Why is it important for girls/women to become educated in breast/ovarian health?
People often don’t realize that there are several things you can do to lower your risk for breast or ovarian cancer. Regardless of if you’re high or average risk, habits you practice in your 20s or 30s impact your risk for developing cancer later in life. It is important for young women to understand the healthy habits they can establish now to lower their lifetime cancer risks, and to become their own best advocate by recognizing changes in their bodies that should be discussed with a doctor.
What inspires you in everyday life?
In my young adulthood, I was constantly searching for ways to live an extraordinary life, seeking the thrill of new experiences and the rush of transcending average. But becoming a parent has been the ultimate inspiration to cherish the beauty of ordinary everyday moments. Before, I couldn’t wait to get to the next excursion, and now I find myself wishing time would slow down, reluctant to let these treasured days fade into nostalgia.
Being a mother has also given me a greater appreciation of the interplay between life, death, relationships, and love; the bliss of perfect moments, and the corresponding fear or pain of losing them. Considering the potential alternatives, I am grateful for the ordinary routine days, and inspired to indulge in the present whether its an exotic international family trip or a lazy afternoon in our own back yard.
What do you love about Bright Pink?
There is an endless list of things I love about Bright Pink. But if I had to pick one, I love the deeply positive vibe that Bright Pink spreads to everything it touches. Bright Pink is not about focusing on the positive simply to escape from sadness. Rather it is empowering, it’s about learning to be strong through acknowledging the devastating or terrifying things in our lives, yet rising above it to change our futures.
How can anyone get involved with Bright Pink?
If there is a Bright Pink chapter near you, meet other bright women in an Experiential Outreach Group. Or sign up for a Pink Pal to get connected one-on-one with another young women who has shared your experiences.
Bright Pink’s message is about the importance of taking a proactive approach to your health and they offer an interactive online quiz that combines your family health history and lifestyle factors to create a personalized risk assessment for you to save, print, and bring to your doctor to craft a proactive breast and ovarian health strategy unique to you! Check out Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk tool and check back for more updates on our partnership.