Elisabeth Campo Shares Her Personal Story
Over the last several years, the incidence of breast and ovarian cancer in women under 45 has more than doubled, demonstrating an important need for breast and ovarian health education in young women.
That is why EVER has partnered with Bright Pink, whose mission is to educate and equip young women, ages 18-49, to assess their risk for breast and ovarian cancer, reduce their risk, and detect these diseases at early, non-life threatening states.
This issue has touched so many women in the EVER community. One such woman is Elisabeth Campo, an EVER Independent Specialist from Massachusetts, who sat down to share her own personal story.
After her father, a pediatric oncologist, was diagnosed with breast cancer, Elisabeth discovered both she and her father possessed a mutation to the cancer-suppressing BRCA gene. This mutation gave them both a greater propensity to develop certain cancers such as breast, prostate and ovarian cancer.
How did you find out you had the BRCA gene mutation?
My father, who was a pediatric oncologist, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. He knew male breast cancer was rare and that he had several relatives with other cancers related to the BRCA gene mutation so he decided to get tested. When his results came back positive he arranged for me to get tested and I tested positive as well.
What was your first reaction to learning the news?
I was sort of in denial. I was young and didn't take it seriously. I thought "that's something that happens to other people, older people, not me."
When did you start to get serious about living differently, knowing you had the BRCA gene mutation?
When my father passed away from pancreatic cancer, another BRCA related cancer, my daughter was 4 months old. She and I were with him every day until he died. It was a wild juxtaposition - watching one life begin as another ended. It was a wake-up call and made me realize I was not invincible and needed to change my attitude, more now than ever. Not just for myself, but to be there for my daughter.
How did your diagnosis change your life? In what ways?
I started paying more attention to and following my oncologist's advice on risk-reduction. Things like exercising more and eating more whole and organic foods, and being mindful of the products I use were easy changes. Others were more difficult, including the decision to have a series of risk reducing surgeries. My ovaries and fallopian tubes were removed first, and then over the next year and a half I had 5 more surgeries including bilateral double mastectomies and reconstructive surgeries. For me, it was the right choice for my family, given my situation.
How important is prevention to people with the BRCA gene mutation?
Early detection, prevention and risk-reduction are all extremely important - for BRCA mutation carriers, of course, but also for everyone else!
You are an Ever Independent Specialist. How long have you worked with the brand?
Pretty much since the company launched. I signed up in May 2015.
What is it about the brand that resonated with you?
Our conscious beauty mission, providing clean products that actually work! So many people are unaware of the potentially harmful ingredients in their personal care products. Raising the awareness of ingredient safety has become a true passion for me.
Do you see the brand as an extension of how you now live your life?
Absolutely! EVER aligns perfectly with how I live my life and the choices I make for myself and my family.
Each BCA month, Ever partners with Bright Pink to raise money for Breast and Ovarian Cancer awareness. Why is that important to you?
The group's founder, Lindsay Avner, is a BRCA gene mutation carrier as well. Bright Pink was a great resource for me when I was going through my surgeries. It means so much to me that we are supporting an organization that helped me through some pretty tough times.
Bright Pink’s mission is to save women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering them to live proactively at a young age. Based on your life and your experience, why is this so vitally important?
Compared to women in the general population BRCA mutation carriers are diagnosed with cancer at a much earlier age. Breast cancer doesn't show up in most women until after 50, but a BRCA mutation carrier can be diagnosed as early as 20. For me, being proactive at a young age allowed me to take control of my situation rather than be a victim.
If you had one piece of advice to give to young women reading this, what would it be?
Be proactive. Think about the big picture, beyond the here and now. The choices you make when you're young can have a huge impact later. It doesn't have to be a complete lifestyle overhaul all at once, and no one is perfect! Choose a few things to work on as a start and go from there. Diet, exercise, switching a few products you use for safer cleaner alternatives are just a few ideas. I bet you'll find it's actually pretty easy, and I promise, your future self and family will thank you.
We thank Elisabeth for sharing her important story about awareness and prevention.
To do our part, we are excited to offer a selection of products from each of our Family Brands to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness this October! Customers can visit our Better Together an boutique on stelladot.com, keepcollective.com and everskin.com from October 1st through October 31st to shop a curated selection Stella & Dot, KEEP Collective, and EVER Skin products. We will donate all net proceeds of eligible purchases from the Better Together and Shop for a Cause boutiques to our charity partner Bright Pink.
Bright Pink strives to reach 52 million women between the ages of 18-45 with lifesaving education on Breast and Ovarian cancer. Find out more about how to Put Awareness into Action™ at www.BrightPink.org.