Real Talk with Jennifer Van Dusen

Jennifer Van Dusen is an advocate for self-care and inspiring all those around her to be their best, healthiest selves! She told us about her fight with breast cancer and how she hopes to raise awareness for the disease. Read on to see what #AerieREAL and #GirlPower mean to her!

Real Talk with Jennifer Van Dusen

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

You are your best health advocate.  No one knows your body better than you do.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to listen to what it tell you.  Your breast can feel different throughout the month due to hormonal changes so the best thing to do is pick a day each month to examine yourself.  A catch phrase in the community is “Feels on the 1st” which means on the 1st day of a new month is a good time to compare your breasts to how they felt on the 1st of the month before.  Do they hurt, is there discharge, do you feel a lump that wasn’t there a month ago?  And get a Pap done at least every year.  There is hardly anyway to tell if you are having problems with an ovary until it’s too late.  Seeing your doctor for an annual checkup can save your life so don’t put it off because it’s awkward or uncomfortable.  What I would always do is book a girls lunch or get a treat for myself on the way home after my annual exam.

Understanding your personal risk including hereditary factors is another huge part of your physical health as a women.  I’m lucky in that my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years before I was.  I learned a lot about the disease but my eyes were opened even more once I was diagnosed.  And after I was I learned it goes much further than possibly your genes.  In my case, my cancer was very receptive to estrogen, so limiting or not drinking alcohol helps as it converts to estrogen when consumed.  I also had my 1st period when I was very young, another risk factor.  I”m not saying make yourself crazy, but ask about your maternal family history and let your doctor know what it is.

Most importantly women need to become educated on their health because it give us power.  So much of life is influenced by outside forces and anytime in which we can take control and help others like us we should.  To me this is the very definition of #GirlPower.

What advice do you have for girls and women who want to lead healthy lifestyles?

The best advice I can give anyone on how to live a healthy lifestyle is start with self-care.  This sounds so simple, but it takes work.  When I first heard about it, at the start of my cancer treatment I thought why do I need to care for me, I have my husband taking care of me, a team of doctors and supportive friends.  But when I learned what it meant and embraced it as part of my treatment I can’t say what a help it was.  Before, I thought it meant; I’m tired from treatment so I’ll take a nap.  But what it really needs to be is a conscious decision to put yourself above all else for little bit every day.  While I was in daily cancer treatment this became a lifesaver, some day it was as simple as putting on a song that lifted my spirits, sitting by the window and enjoying a cup of tea, taking 30 minutes to meditate, getting an ice-cream cone on the way home from the hospital or buying myself a new pair of legging from my favorite store – AERIE.  Self care for me now that my energy is improving is walking my dogs, working up a sweat at the gym, trying out a new recipe for dinner.

Whatever your self-care (or treat as I prefer to call it) is, the most important thing is to do it mindfully; meaning you are doing it for you, you don’t have to justify it you just have to be 100% present in that moment.

Once you are strong enough to care for yourself what you can give back to others is only multiplied.  This is the airplane mask rule, put your mask on 1st and then help the person next to you.

Real Talk with Jennifer Van DusenWho inspires you to be your best self? 

This is a big question.  I could probably write a book on this answer alone!  I am also going to point out that my eyes are very wet while writing this, because my feelings for these people are so deep.

I have to say 1st off my husband, Jamie Van Dusen.  He truly is love, because love is a verb and not a noun.  His strength and unwavering commitment to me got me through the worst, the loss of my mother to breast cancer, my diagnosis, my double mastectomy and so much more.  He was my strength when I didn’t have any therefore he deserves the best from me in return.

The next person is a beautiful angel, Jasmin Fiore.  I didn’t have the pleasure of spending lots of time with her but she is an inspiration to me and many women in my cancer community.  She was so young when diagnosed with MBC (metastatic breast cancer aka Stage4) and had 2 little girls, but she went on to start an amazing retreat for other young women diagnosed with breast cancer.  Only about 3% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are under the age of 40.  Without the retreat she started, Stretch Heal Grow, I never would have met other women like me.  I felt so alone and Jasmin created a community, friendships and a space of healing for us.  While she had a horrible battle of her own she gave back in the most beautiful way possible.  I am forever in her debt and aspire to give back as much as I can because of her (learn more here: https://stretchhealgrow.org/about/)

And I guess at the end of the day I also have to say I inspire me, because when it comes right down to it my thoughts are last thing I hear at night and first thing I hear in the morning.  I have to be able to look myself in the mirror and say I am living my best life or trying my hardest to be a good person.  Every day I am alive is a blessing and it’s not something that is guaranteed so God willing I will make the most of it.

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I hope that every women out there has a little #AerieREAL in them!  To me it means I am strong but also insecure, that I am perfect and also flawed.  Most importantly it means that I own who I am and I am grateful.

Want to see how Aerie supports breast cancer awareness? Read more here!

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Bracelet DIY in stores

Share the love this October. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, show someone undergoing treatment that you’re thinking of them. Make an empowering bracelet in select Aerie stores & we’ll send it along! See if your store is on the list below.

Bracelet DIY in stores

Create your own words of encouragement or get inspired by some of our faves.

  • Strong
  • Warrior
  • Fearless
  • Brave
  • U got this
  • GRL PWR
  • Courage
  • Fighter
  • Real love
  • Hope
  • Hi beautiful
  • Fierce

Bracelet DIY in stores

Create a bracelet in a store near you:

Stores

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Take care of your girls!

We’re so proud to celebrate our 9th year partnering with Bright Pink®, a non-profit dedicated to prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancers in young women. We’ll be honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month all October. Read on and find out how YOU can take care of your girls!

Take care of your girls!

To kick off the month, Bright Pink CEO, Katie Thiede, shared the love about our partnership: “We’re thrilled to partner with Aerie for the 9th consecutive year together! Our partnership aims to spark important conversations among young women and inspire them to be proactive with their health, while raising critical funds to fuel Bright Pink’s life-saving mission. Since 2010, together we have raised more than $1 million to empower women to know their risk for breast & ovarian cancer and take action. Bright Pink’s flagship program, Assess Your Risk, has helped more than one million women learn their risk and take steps to manage it. We’re excited to share this quiz with Aerie girls through our partnership this fall because the more you know, the better prepared you are to take control of your health and your future!”

Bright Pink’s website offers an array of life-saving resources, from the Assess Your Risk™ quiz Katie mentioned to monthly Breast Health Reminders™, where you can get alerts right on your phone to remind you to check your girls.

Take care of your girls!

Wear your support proudly with our limited-edition sports bra and legging! 100% of US sales in stores and at Aerie.com benefit the non-profit.

Take care of your girls!

We can all use a little more inspiration! This October, you can get a free pouch and mirror decals with your $5+ donation to Bright Pink in US stores and Rethink Breast Cancer in Canada. These mirror decals act as a daily reminder to take care of your girls!

Want to learn more about our partnership with Bright Pink? Read about it here!

 

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It’s #CallYourDoctorDay!

June 12 is Call Your Doctor Day! For the 2nd year in a row, we’re teaming up with national non-profit Bright Pink to raise awareness for this important holiday. This year, Call Your Doctor Day is focused on empowering you to see your healthcare provider as a partner: you + your healthcare provider = dream team!

It’s #CallYourDoctorDay!

In honor of Call Your Doctor Day, Bright Pink has two tools you can use to prepare for your appointment:

  1. Get help scheduling your well-woman exam and get up-to-speed on what to expect at your annual by visiting BrightPink.org/Annual.
  2. To help guide a powerful provider-patient conversation, go to AssessYourRisk.org and complete Bright Pink’s breast and ovarian risk assessment quiz before your well-woman exam. Use your quiz results as a conversation starter with your doctor.

By preparing to have conversations with your healthcare provider at your well-woman exam, you can be your own best health advocate!

It’s #CallYourDoctorDay!

Scheduling an annual well-woman exam, even when you’re healthy, is critical to maintaining your breast and ovarian health. Your annual is also an opportunity to build a relationship with your healthcare provider, ask him or her questions and talk about your personal plan for preventive care.

Bright Pink can help you build a strong partnership with your provider. Not everyone feels comfortable going to the doctor–and that’s OK! Bright Pink provides information, resources and tools to support you on your path to your best health. Part of that journey should include conversations with a healthcare provider at your annual.

 

 

 

 

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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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IN OCTOBER, WE WEAR BRIGHT PINK

October is officially breast cancer awareness month, and we’re so proud to be partnering with Bright Pink® for the 8th year to help the non-profit dedicated to prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancers in young women. Make sure you take advantage of Bright Pink’s life-saving resources, from their Assess Your Risk™ quiz to monthly Breast Health Reminders™, and show your support! Our limited-edition tee is our favorite way to wear our Bright Pink pride: 100% of sales from each and every tee support Bright Pink. Read on for 3 of our favorite ways to wear it!

IN OCTOBER, WE WEAR BRIGHT PINK WORK IT OUT

Our tee comes in grey, so that means you can add on all the pink you want! Get your pink workouts in wearing our Move Mesh Back Legging and Play Mixed Mesh Sports Bra.

IN OCTOBER, WE WEAR BRIGHT PINKWEAR IT OUT

Stay cozy and add subtle hints of pink with our Lace-Up Fleece Pant, Faux Fur Vest and Chenille Beanie. Cozy enough to stay home in, cool enough to wear out!

IN OCTOBER, WE WEAR BRIGHT PINKCOZY IT UP!

You can still show your support, even at home. Add shades of red and pink with our Lace Racerback Bralette, Boxer and Shine Bobby Socks.

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