Real Talk With Bright Pink CEO Katie Thiede

It’s our eighth year partnering with Bright Pink®, and our first year meeting their new CEO, Katie Thiede. We got to know Katie and what Bright Pink means to her— read on for our interview and find out how YOU can get involved with Bright Pink.

Real Talk With Bright Pink CEO Katie Thiede

Katie Thiede, the new CEO of Bright Pink. Photo by Jasmin Shah.

How did you first get involved with Bright Pink?

I was first introduced to Bright Pink a few years ago by connecting with Bright Pink founder, Lindsay Avner, over our shared passion for women’s health and I’ve been in love with the organization ever since! I cheered on the organization from the outside for years and couldn’t be more thrilled to now be on the inside leading us into our next chapter.

Why does Bright Pink’s message resonate with you?

I’ve spent more than a decade working in women’s health for organizations that exist so that women can live their best lives because I believe, and research has shown, that when women are healthy and strong, families are stronger, communities are stronger, and ultimately the world is a better place. That said, despite having worked for years in the field of women’s health, it wasn’t until I met Bright Pink that I became armed with the tools and resources I needed to shift my own awareness into action. I can now stand here and tell you that I no longer feel afraid of what might happen and I feel more in control over my breast and ovarian health and my own future than ever before.

Why is it important for girls and women to become educated on breast and ovarian health?

Research suggests that early adulthood is a critical time to adapt healthy lifestyle behaviors that will last a lifetime and we know that a woman’s risk for breast and ovarian cancers accumulates over her lifetime – so reaching young women at this pivotal point in their late teens, 20’s, 30’s and 40’s is the perfect time to educate them on their breast and ovarian health and to guide them in developing healthy habits that will enable them to advocate for their health.

Real Talk With Bright Pink CEO Katie Thiede

How does Bright Pink encourage others to take charge of their health?

In my mind, there has never been a better time for women to be their own best health advocates. The health care landscape is shifting almost on a daily basis, and people have so many questions. We can be an amazing translator for women, and amidst all of these changes, prevention has to be a top priority for us. Our approach specifically is to empower women to know their personal risk of breast & ovarian cancer and manage their risk proactively by practicing self-awareness, risk-reduction, early detection, and partnering with a trusted health care provider. Bright Pink’s digital tools, such as AssessYourRisk.org and Breast Health Reminders™ were created to make advocating for your health as easy as possible. And we’re so grateful Aerie is committed to getting these tools in to the hands of women too! Text AERIE to 59227, and Bright Pink will text you reminders to give your breast health the attention it deserves all year-round!

 

How can girls get involved with Bright Pink?

Bright Pink is always looking for passionate young women to get involved as volunteers or ambassadors and to help support our mission! We have 150+ ambassadors in 38 states and hope to grow that network over time so we can reach women all across the country with this life-saving education. Another great way to get involved, practice a healthy lifestyle, and fuel our mission is through Team Bright Pink, a community of 3,000 men and women who commit to run, lift or play while raising funds for Bright Pink. There are opportunities for everyone, from novice to elite athletes. We’re recruiting for the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and more, so considering championing our mission by joining our team! And of course, chat and connect with us on Facebook: @BrightPink Instagram/Twitter: @BeBrightPink.

Real Talk With Bright Pink CEO Katie Thiede

Katie at our Soho Pop-Up Shop for Take Care of Your Girls Day.

To learn more about our partnership with Bright Pink check out our #AerieSupports page or read more here.

 

 

 

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#AerieSupports Bright Pink

We’re so excited to celebrate our our sixth year partnering with Bright Pink®, a non-profit dedicated to prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer. This year, we’re partnering with the Pittsburgh Steelers on a two-story breast cancer ribbon covered with more than 1500 Aerie bras!

Yesterday, more than 50 Aerie volunteers helped to build the massive structure, designed by local Pittsburgh artist Steve Ford, at Stage AE next to Heinz Field. After our campaign, Aerie will launder and donate bras from the sculpture to local women’s shelters in Pittsburgh.

Along with raising funds for Bright Pink’s life-saving education and support programs, we hope this ribbon encourages women to understand their family’s health histories and their own potential risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

#AerieSupports Bright Pink #AerieSupports Bright Pink #AerieSupports Bright Pink

“Our work with Bright Pink allows us to educate and empower our consumer about their health as well as share our commitment to #AerieREAL and body positivity!” – Jennifer Foyle, Global Brand President of Aerie #AerieSupports Bright Pink #AerieSupports Bright Pink

The ribbon sculpture was raised in front of Stage AE, where thousands of people will be able to view it from Heinz Field during Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh football games during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. It will make its debut at the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens primetime game on October 1. (Go Steelers!)

#AerieSupports Bright Pink

#AerieSupports Bright Pink

Visit your local Aerie store or Aerie.com to shop our limited-edition Bright Pink Bralette. 100% of proceeds will go to Bright Pink. Check back soon to learn more about Bright Pink and tips for being breast aware. Support your girls!

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Aerie Friends & Family: Jocelyn L., Bright Pink Ambassador

Aerie Friends & Family: Jocelyn L., Bright Pink Ambassador

For the past few years, Aerie has been partnering with Bright Pink, a national non-profit organization focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. Meet Jocelyn L., a Bright Pink Ambassador from Chicago, IL. Read on to learn more about how Jocelyn got involved with the organization and why it is important for young women to be proactive with their health.

Meet Jocelyn, a member of Team Bright Pink

Meet Jocelyn, a member of Team Bright Pink

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

My name is Jocelyn and I live in Chicago, Illinois. I am twenty nine years old and I work at a downtown Chicago firm as a fire protection engineer. In my free time I love knitting, running, and cooking with my husband Tim! We also love craft beer, and exploring all our great city has to offer.

How did you hear about/ get involved with Bright Pink?

My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 at the age of 27. At her gentle prodding, I finally began regularly seeing an OB/GYN who recommended I look into Bright Pink based on my family history. I put it on the back burner for awhile and then began to use it as a resource after my sister passed away, looking for information about my high risk. Because my sister was positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation, I eventually met with a genetics counselor and was tested myself. After testing positive, I underwent the regimen of increased screening, and ultimately had a prophylactic double mastectomy in 2012. I remember distinctly after finding out I was BRCA2 positive, looking for people like me–people who didn’t have cancer, but those who were still at high risk. It’s a group that is very much a middle ground, people who are aware of their risk and what it means, but with the time and knowledge to do something about it. I was hungry for information during that time, and Bright Pink was a great resource for me.

Who has been the most important influence in your life?

My sister has been the most influential person of my life. I always looked up to my big sister growing up and as an adult valued her advice and opinions above all. Seeing her struggle with breast cancer, and ultimately succumbing to the disease in 2011 was the push I needed to become more involved in Bright Pink and to truly take care of myself. I would be foolish to see how serious the disease is and see her life cut short and not learn lessons from her experience. She’s still with me every day helping me navigate through life. I miss being able to talk to her, but I know she would be proud of my decisions.

Why is it important for girls/women to become educated in breast/ovarian health?

I think it’s important because it’s our bodies, and no one knows them like us. If we don’t take control then we passively wait to see what happens. Growing up when women in my family were diagnosed with breast cancer, I always imagined that it was something I would deal with in old age. But my sister’s diagnosis at a young age and its aggressiveness really shocked me. Not everyone’s case is so extreme, but it’s possible, and women can’t just put their breast/ovarian health in a box and wait to unpack in it their 40s, when they’re done having children, or when they have time. Cancer doesn’t wait until it’s convenient for you. It may never come, but accepting the possibility that it may come is what goes along with being a high-risk woman. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s up to everyone to read between the lines and find out what’s best for them and their bodies.

What inspires you in everyday life?

The memory of my sister, and knowing that undergoing the mastectomy has made me proactive instead of waiting to be a victim. If I had to see my sister undergo what she did, and then do nothing to prevent it from happening to me, it would be wasteful. I feel like the gift of knowledge that my sister gave me through this experience is the greatest gift I could ever receive. Seeing strong women empowered in the face of adversity is inspiring to me.

What do you love about Bright Pink?

I love that Bright Pink networks you with real people, not just people in glossy pamphlets. I have participated in the Pink Pal program and spoken with a woman who was in my exact situation and could lend her experiences. I love that the outreach programs are fun and conducive to real discussions about the unique problems high risk women face. The women I meet there are a wealth of information, and they make me feel normal navigating my path. We can discuss anything. I love that there are also educational programs with experts who I feel I can ask anything. Bright Pink’s focus on knowledge and empowerment is the message I needed and I hope can continue to share.

How can girls/women get involved with Bright Pink?

All sorts of ways! Women can attend an outreach program, use the website as an informational resource, participate in the Pink Pal program, volunteer at events, or participate in fundraising activities. Last year I ran the Chicago Marathon (my first!) for Team Bright Pink, raising money for the organization and training with the team. This year I plan to run the Chicago Half Marathon with Team Bright Pink as well.

 

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.

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