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In Living Pink

In Living Pink 2012
Top: 2012 Benefit Committee. Bottom left from left to right: Karen Kennedy, Vice President YSC Board of Directors; Lisa J. Frank, President YSC Board of Directors; Jennifer Merschdorf, YSC CEO. Bottom left: Jennifer Merschdorf, YSC CEO and Event Host Chris Wragge, CBS News. Photos by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Young Survival Coalition.

What does “In Living Pink” really mean? I think that’s a fair question. In a world where pink ribbons rule, what does it mean to “live pink”? I have a unique perspective on this and feel it’s important for me to express it.

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36 and becoming YSC’s CEO, I’ve had the honor of attending YSC’s “In Living Pink” galas around the country. And while they’re all different, they all share a common purpose: to celebrate young women affected by breast cancer.

When a young woman is diagnosed with breast cancer she can lose her hair, her breasts, her health, her job and/or her sexuality. It’s not fair… and shouldn’t happen. But, it does.

Each and every young woman that has been diagnosed with breast cancer has fought to be the person she was before her diagnosis. She wants to be in a room full of people and feel normal. “In Living Pink” makes that happen.

At YSC “In Living Pink” galas, young women affected by breast cancer and the people they love get dressed up to celebrate life together. They dance, they play and they create an energy that only a room full of people confronted with disease too early in life can generate. You can feel this power at our galas around the country, and it’s amazing to experience.

Yesterday, we hosted YSC’s national “In Living Pink” gala GRAND SALON: Monte Carlo Casino Game Night at Capitale in New York City. I was honored to present Lisa J. Frank with YSC’s Kristen Martinez Legacy Award for extraordinary volunteerism and dedication to YSC’s mission to ensure that no young woman faces breast cancer alone.

No one I’ve met during the last year embraces this national “In Living Pink” community more than Lisa. A Founding Member of YSC, Lisa attended YSC’s first meeting in 1998 and has dedicated her life ever since to all the young women living in theU.S.who have been affected by breast cancer. She works hard to remember the name and story of every survivor she meets — a quality I admire beyond words. She does this out of respect for their individual stories because each and every young woman affected by breast cancer has to fight through their own experience — and while we’re part of a powerful community — it’s important to acknowledge each unique story and what every woman, as an individual, has been through.

Lisa is much more than an exceptional attorney, partner, friend, sister and daughter — she is my mentor. For the past year she has listened, guided, walked beside me … and led me when I needed it. I trust her beyond words. As YSC’s Board President, I know she’s as determined as I am to do everything possible to support young woman in this country, so no young woman facing a breast cancer diagnosis ever has to feel alone.

While I am not a huge fan of the color pink, “In Living Pink” is a way to show the world that we’re still very much living … and we look pretty darn good “living in pink”!