Today is Bright Pink Lipstick Day! Pink Hope, Australia’s only hereditary health charity, will use Bright Pink Lipstick Day as an opportunity to encourage Australians to start a conversation about their family’s hereditary health, specifically their risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
This is the third year that BPLD has run and I celebrated by wearing pink lipstick, chatting with my mother-in-law about hereditary family health (AKA ‘Kiss and tell’) AND interviewing the Pink Hope Founder Krystal Barter! The interview is below:
Why did you start Pink Hope?
Being a young high risk woman. I had watched every woman in my family face cancer and I felt like I was next. There was no unique organisation for me to call on for information and support. So when I was recovering in hospital from my double mastectomy I made a promise to myself, my family and every other high risk family out there that the isolation and lack of awareness would end with me.
At what age did you start to realise that you may have the BCRA gene and the implications of this? How did your mother discuss this with you? What was your response to this?
I was 18 when my Mum and Nan tested positive for the BRCA Gene. However it was not until I was 22 and had a 12 month old baby boy that I realised it was a gift of information that I needed to know. My Mum and Nan were always open and honest with me about my risk and about my family history. They made a promise long ago to kiss and tell, to talk about our risk of cancer. Their support I truly believe made me who I am today and they are the inspiration behind Pink Hope. It doesn’t mean I was ok with knowing my risk and BRCA gene initially. I document my journey in my book The Lucky One for sale at the Pink Hope Online shop. It takes you through my life and how I coped with the BRCA gene and surgery.
How did you address the threat this gene carried?
At first I was consumed by anxiety, I visited doctor google every night and concerned myself until I became sick. After 3 years of navigating my options I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy at age 25, because they found changes in my breast tissue. I recently recovered from having my fallopian tubes and ovary removed 8 weeks ago.
How did this impact your self-esteem and body image?
I feel more beautiful know than I did before. I think I had an unhealthy relationship with my breasts from such a young age. They were always the enemy to me because every woman in my family has had breast cancer.
How can people support others who may have the BCRA gene?
Come to the Pink Hope page – purchase a gift for them. Download some resources and be there as a friend… not as an expert. High risk families want to be supported by the people they loved. They have healthcare professionals to help them make decisions.
How can people find out they have the BCRA gene?
It is through a simple blood test, which you need a referral for. You can gather information from Pink Hope and take it to your GP or Family Cancer Clinic to access your risk and see if you need further assessment or testing.
Why bright pink?
Its about making a statement. Anyone can wear light pink lipstick. But you have to have confidence to pull of a bright pink lippy. So we are asking everyone to make a bold lipstick choice for one day – in support of pink hope and their hereditary health.
Eat Pray Workout supports Pink Hope in their endeavors to promote awareness of hereditary health. Had it not been for this Pink Lipstick by Luma I would not have known some of the medical conditions that have affected my mother-in-law and her family. Krystal is an inspiration and we thank you for creating the opportunity to discuss these important matters and share your story with us! xo