Women with a hereditary breast cancer history share their story #brightpinklipstickday

By Maria Kyriacou

Image: Pink Hope CEO and Founder Krystal Barton and her daughter Bonnie
Image: Pink Hope CEO and Founder Krystal Barton and her daughter Bonnie
Now in its fourth year Bright Pink Lipstick Day, aims to encourage Australians to have a conversation about their family’s hereditary health, specifically their risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

The preventative health charity was started by Krystal Barter when she was only 22-year-old. She is very familiar with the genetic risks of breast cancer due to her own family’s long history with the disease as carriers of the BRAC1 gene mutation. Like Angelina Jolie, multiple generations of women have been diagnosed at young ages. She said,

“My mum was only 36, my nan was 44, my great-grandma 68 at diagnosis, and that’s just my immediate family.”

Unfortunately, about 80 per cent of the women in Krystal’s extended family have passed away, but her charity Pink Hope is all about changing those statistics with information and support about preventative measures. When she was 25 years old, and with two young sons at home, Krystal had a preventative double mastectomy.



Image: Breast Cancer Survivor Jane and her daughter Samantha Scoble


Mother and daughter, Jane Scoble and Samantha Chapman’s genetic history has also been marked by breast cancer. Jane lost her mother to breast cancer as a child, then in 2009 Jane was also diagnosed, as a 48-year-old solo mum. Like many families faced with this situation, the roles were reversed and Jane says her daughter became her “number one carer.”

“When mum was diagnosed I was in my early 20s,’ said Samantha. “It’s not something many 20-somethings really think about. Despite the regular checks and kind of always knowing something might happen, it was quite frightening at the time – I just remember bursting into tears when she told me.”

Many young women who are at increased risk of the disease are often afraid of getting tested, when early intervention could be the difference between life, painful chemotherapy and radiotherapy or even death.

Knowing the possibility was high for Samantha she has always been proactive about keeping an eye on any changes.

“I have always done self-checks since Mum was diagnosed. Last year I started annual preventative screening,’ she said. ‘For now I am planning to continue with the preventative screening and will consider having preventative surgery down the track. I am nearing 30 and planning a family with my husband, so screening is the best choice for me right now.

Once her mother’s surgery was complete, Samantha says they found Pink Hope, which has been an amazing source of support.

“It was great to find young women going through the exact same thing I had been through whilst also dealing with the reality that one day this could be us,’ she said.

“I have made some lifelong friends as a result. My friends were always there for me and provided me with a shoulder to cry on or bring over some dinner.” Jane has gone on to volunteer and work with the organisation describing it as a big family.

Pink Hope asks that we by starting a conversation about breast and ovarian health within our families, to learn more about our health history and hereditary cancer risk.

Aussie Supermodel sisters Jessica and Ashley Hart have signed on for the second year to front the campaign, with Jessica Hart designing an exclusive and natural hot pink lippy.

The lipstick called “Pink Hope” will be for sale at: www.lumacosmetics.com.au with 100% of proceeds of the sales going directly to the Pink Hope charity.

You can also support the charity by sharing a picture of yourself wearing a bright pink lipstick on social media, using the hash tag #brightpinklipstickday.

Catch our interview with Pink Hope’s inspiring founder Krystal in the November Issue of MiNDFOOD Magazine.



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