PARA'KITO, a leader in mosquito repellent formulas, recently announced a partnership with the Young Survivor Coalition (YSC) which supports young women whose lives have been affected by #Breast Cancer. In honor of their health-focused partnership, PARA'KITO has released a "pink ribbon" wristband and 20 percent of the proceeds will go to YSC, an organization that supports and offers resources to young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

It is estimated that 12,000 women under the age of forty will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 alone. This startling statistic is in-line with similar numbers in past years, conveying the dire need for services offered to the afflicted.

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For almost twenty years, YSC has striven to empower individuals who are faced with this terrible disease and raise awareness about the condition and the importance of finding a cure.

Jennifer Richey, the Associate Director of Corporate Partnerships, recently spoke about #Young Survival Coalition and its mission in an exclusive interview.

Supporting survivors and collaborating

Meagan Meehan (MM): What is the primary mission of the Young Survival Coalition and what kinds of events do you typically organize?

Jennifer Richey (JR): Young Survival Coalition is on a mission to ensure that no young woman is left to face breast cancer alone. We provide support for young women (diagnosed at ages forty and under) so they feel educated, empowered, and hopeful. We organize events to help young women, healthcare providers, and their supporters learn about the most up-to-date treatment options, ways to cope with the side effects of a diagnosis and address the unique needs of this population.

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Our largest event, the YSC Summit, will take place in Orlando from February 23 to 25. We expect over 600 attendees!

MM: How and why did you start collaborating with companies and how do you serve and support young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer?

JR: As a nonprofit, we have a very limited budget when it comes to marketing and advertising our resources and offerings. We focus our direct outreach to healthcare providers and cancer centers so that women learn about us the moment they are diagnosed. Our corporate partners are integral in spreading broader awareness that young women can and do get breast cancer. Partnering with companies allows us to reach millions of young women who wouldn’t otherwise know about YSC and the support we provide should they someday need us.

MM: How did you find out about PARA'KITO and what about their offerings most appealed to you?

JR: We met Para’Kito through the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City last year. Their all-natural ingredients and appeal to young women made them stand out among other brands.

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They have also worked with breast cancer organizations and survivors and supported the cause in Australia.

Stories, partnerships, and highlights

MM: What sorts of stories have you heard during your time with YSC and are any particularly memorable or moving?

JR: Every woman’s story is memorable and moving in its own way, so it’s hard to pick just one. I will share the story of one survivor who continues to inspire me Her name is Jaime and she was diagnosed at the very young age of 29. Jaime’s sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer a few years prior to Jaime and ultimately passed away from breast cancer. Because of her sister, Jaime knew about YSC from day one of her diagnosis. Jaime dreamed of one day being a wife and mother. YSC educated her about all of her treatment options and the importance of fertility preservation before undergoing chemo. Today, Jaime is cancer-free and has twin girls who she refers to as her “YSC Miracle Babies” since, after learning about fertility options after cancer, she and her husband used frozen eggs to conceive their twin girls! We have so many “Survivor Stories” on our website, so please feel free to take a look and prepare to be moved by the incredible strength of our survivor community.

MM: What sorts of partnerships are you hoping to foster in the future?

JR: We welcome partnerships that share our values and passion for helping young women facing breast cancer. Some of our most meaningful corporate partners have breast cancer stories of their own and remain dedicated to the cause because they know how important finding support and education is to young women.

MM: What do you wish the general public knew about cancer and YSC?

JR: We wish that the general public knew that young women can and do get breast cancer. We want them to know about and practice breast self-awareness and to reach out to YSC for help if they need us.

MM: Thus far, what do you consider to be the highlight of your experiences with YSC?

JR: The highlight of my experience is our annual YSC Summit. It is truly an inspiring and fun event where women can smile and be themselves during one of the most difficult times of their lives. It is so important for women to connect with one another and support each other.

MM: Do you have any exciting events on the horizon and is there anything more that you wish to talk about?

JR: In October, we host two of our “YSC Tour de Pink” rides. They are three-day 200-mile cycling events and one-third of our riders are breast #Cancer Survivors. It is moving to see so many survivors ride along with their supporters and claim their bodies back from breast cancer.