How the Sisters of Painted Pink Tackle Breast Cancer
Using Social to Bridge the Unknown between Breast Cancer and Millennials
Ann-Marie Appiah experienced her first lumpectomy in 2012 and her second just three years later. Those experiences led her to found Atlanta-based Painted Pink, a breast-cancer advocacy organization dedicated to encouraging preventative measures among African-American Millennials.
The Painted Pink board is comprised of Appiah’s sister, Amaris Appiah, and friends Gloria Mason, Manica Pierrette, and Tayler James. Its programs are based on four pillars—Educate, Support, Empower, Survive—and include care packages and wigs for survivors, informational sessions about early detection and genetic testing, fitness and wellness series, and its yearly Breast Cancer Bruncheon.
Technology and social media are essential to Painted Pink’s mission.
“We wanted this to be a Millennial movement, and we know technology is the No. 1 thing that drives Millennials’ curiosity,” says Ann-Marie Appiah. “We are always on social and we know that’s the way to reach people. It could be a post with facts about family history or assessing your risk. And in that moment, they realize, ‘I need more information or I need to do a little bit more for myself to be preventative.’’
To that end, Painted Pink’s #PaintedPink4BC campaign features photos of young women of color showing off everything from trendy pink fashions to freshly-coated pink fingernails and also offers quick and easy tips for healthy living. “All of that is a conversation starter,” Appiah says. “People love inspirational photos on social media, and we wanted to make it fun and engaging.”
Board member Gloria Mason defines Painted Pink as “the bridge between the unknown and the known as it relates to Millennials and breast cancer.” Millennials need to know, she continues, the importance of family medical history, how to get genetic testing, and how to ensure that testing and mammograms are covered by insurance.
Relatability is also key to Painted Pink’s success. “In a city that’s so diverse [like Atlanta, we don’t see too many events that are tailored around health, young Blacks, and proactivity. If we can get Millennials with a voice and influence to be empowered and spread the word, that to us is how we define success,” Appiah says.
Show your support for the Painted Pink movement by reposting their awareness messages with #TheBridgeATT.