Val Skinner Foundation

2012 Heroes

2012 Heroes

Lindsay Avner

Lindsay Avner is the founder and executive director of Bright Pink, a national non-profit organization that provides education and support to young women who are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Vowing not to let the disease strike her as it had three generations of women before her, Lindsay opted to have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy shortly after graduating from college. At the time, Lindsay was the youngest patient nationally to opt for the procedure.

It was during her experience that Lindsay realized the lack of resources for women in her specific situation – young women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. After honing her marketing skills while working in brand management at Unilever, Lindsay founded Bright Pink in January 2007 to share her experience and resources with other young women across the country.

Nikia Hammonds-Blakely

Having survived a life-altering bout with Breast Cancer at age 16 years old, Nikia Hammonds-Blakely is a singer, songwriter and motivational speaker who focuses her message on receiving physical and emotional healing with the help of God and family.

When she was a sophomore in high school, she found a lump in her breast that turned out to be a very aggressive form of cancer. Her doctors recommended a total mastectomy, but Nikia resisted. Instead she underwent several months of radiation and other surgeries.

As traumatic as it was, Nikia says her cancer also gave her a resolve she never had before. Once she decided she would beat her cancer and make the most of her life, she earned straight As and became the first person in her family to go to college. She would go on to earn an MBA, and is completing her PhD program studying organizational management.

Today she says surviving cancer has motivated her to take control of her total health, and she finds great joy in encourages others to do the same. After discovering pre-cancerous cells during a recent mammogram & biopsy, Nikia decided to take a very proactive step to prevent the likely reoccurrence of breast cancer by undergoing a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy.

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