This past Monday, Sarah Halberstadt, the National Program Manager for the group Bright Pink came to visit us at the Oncofertility Consortium. Bright Pink is a not-for-profit organization that educates and supports young women who are at high-risk for breast and ovarian cancer. The members of Bright Pink include women with a family history of these cancers and those who have high-risk mutations of the BRCA breast and ovarian cancer genes. These women have many issues to deal with at a young age, including a greatly increased chance of developing cancer and fertility issues. Halberstadt stated that at Bright Pink, “We divide our programs into three areas: education, support, and providing a sense of community for women who are at high-risk.”
These women have many options and decisions to deal with, which is actually a good thing. “Especially with breast and ovarian cancer, we are so lucky that there are incredible surveillance programs, preventative drugs, and surgeries, if that is what you want to do,” Halberstadt said. One pre-emptive treatment that these women often consider is ovarian tissue cryopreservation. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation decreases a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer and may allow her to preserve her fertility. These high-risk women can turn to the FERTLINE for medical advice from a Patient Navigator and to Bright Pink for community support.
Bright Pink provides the Pinkpal One-On-One Peer Support Program, which Halberstadt describes as, “A matchmaking service without all the romance and fancy dates. Basically, It is a one-on-one peer support program that pairs a women who is looking for some support with one who has walked a mile in her shoes.” They also provide Breast Cancer 101 presentations to communities around the country and will be launching an online video of the information in September with the help of the Cancer Support Community.
They provide printed materials to physicians around the country to pass around to patients including two Little Bright Books. One is targeted to young women who are themselves at high-risk for breast and ovarian cancers. According to Halberstadt, “It is an A to Z guide on how to be proactive with your health as a young woman and how to know what your family history means about your risk.” The other book targets breast cancer fighters and survivors. It guides them through talking to family members about their risks, a process that is also therapeutic.
As the members of Bright Pink are mostly young women, they also like to relax through fun outreach events. As the organization grows, so will their programs. We look forward to hearing more about Bright Pink in the future!