What I noticed first about Lindsay Avner is her striking energy, even after a long event the day previous, the high tea titled "For the Women We Love." A young, motivated woman bounced into the Starbucks and there was no mistaking her now infamous smile as she walked up to me. Lindsay has had a whirlwind of activity surrounding her, especially in the past 2 years. Her story is different than one would expect, coming from the world of cancer non-profits. I feel lucky to have met such an inspirational person, and I am honored she shared an afternoon with me to tell me more about her cause.
The struggle that defines Lindsay is not just her own, and yet not just other peoples struggles. A life intertwined with a cancer survivor in her mother and those she lost to cancer, her grand mother and great grandmother, has contributed to her strong will to survive. With a medical family history so riddled with cancer, she chose to have herself tested for a mutation on the BRCA1 gene, an inherited alteration in the gene that can carry with it an up to 85% increased risk of breast cancer. When she tested positive, she was faced with a life-altering decision, at the young age of 23, to have her breasts removed to side-step the cancer that she grew up seeing in the women in her family.
Lindsay has weathered many different storms, from watching two matriarchs pass away from cancer, to having a first hand experience with her mother's struggles with the disease. The resolution to not live in fear of cancer herself empowered her to come to the conclusion that others needed the support that comes only with a common understanding. She had public scrutiny that called to attention her family history and to her drastic choice to have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. With that choice, her life became a media fury that has not subsided to this day.
Lindsay could have stopped there, safe and healthy, and gone on living her life after her 15 mintues of fame was spent. Lucky for us, she didn't, and with a passion to help others deal with the risk of cancer she has created an unique niche for a non-profit like no other, Bright Pink.
Lindsay has done something no one else in the Cancer Non Profit world has done before... She made fighting cancer chic, trendy, and I daresay, sexy. Lindsay has created a haven for young people to go and learn about cancer BEFORE it strikes, making it seem less intimidating, and more manageable. There's no better feeling than knowing you're doing something to make a difference in your health, and by helping Bright Pink you are also helping others by supporting others. Lindsay beat cancer before it had a chance to become an opponent, and she is motivating staggering numbers of young women to do the same by education, enthusiasm, and a love for her cause that is infectious to everyone who comes in contact with her.
With the help of many heavy hitters she has infiltrated both New York and Miami with Bright Pink making it a mainstream cause, and it doesn't appear to be slowing down in the least! Lindsay had the opportunity to leave her career to dedicate herself to the booming non-profit. If you Google Lindsay, you will find she has been interviewed countless times, and you will get a glimpse of her bright smile that she bestows so graciously upon everyone. It is no wonder, it seems, that she has turned into such a celebrity for the cause, her energy jumps out at you when you read her interviews, and those are simply words. Having a young, zealous, hip woman heading up a surprisingly upbeat non-profit is a fresh breath for such a time-honored cause. In less than two years, Lindsay has become a force to be reckoned with, a formidable explosion in the non-profit world.
Written and Edited by Brook Dill