Watch the full interview with Lisa Frank, co-founder of Tour de Pink, and Jill Frey, best friends who met at the first YSC meeting in 1998.
YSC is powered by the passion of a community dedicated to young adults affected by breast cancer. Fifteen years ago, YSC superstar, Lisa Frank, co-founded YSC Tour de Pink, a fundraising bike ride that attracts hundreds of survivors, co-survivors and supporters each year.
To celebrate Tour de Pink’s fifteenth anniversary, we sat down with Lisa and Jill Frey, two best friends who met at the first YSC meeting in 1998.
Meet Lisa Frank and Jill Frey
They were both looking for younger adults diagnosed with breast cancer. Jill knew there were others out there, but she’d only met other survivors diagnosed much older.
“As great as the support was from my 3 sisters and mom – I’m a 3rd generation survivor – I still felt very alone. I knew by going and meeting other women my age, I could just take a deep breath and say, ‘I’m not alone.’”
Later, Lisa went on to co-found Tour de Pink with Matt Purdue in 2004. She calls it her proudest accomplishment with YSC. “This multi-day charity ride raises much-needed funds to support our programs. All the dollars that we raise from this bike ride provide support for young adults.”
That first ride was much different than the rides of today that include a comfortable hotel bed, and group catered meals for everyone. Six riders registered to bike from Boston to New York, but Lisa’s re-diagnosis as stage II meant she couldn’t ride. She helped get the small group food and housing, including an overnight stay at the house of a friend’s parents who’d agreed to let the riders sleep there. This gesture of hospitality – letting a group of sweaty, exhausted strangers sleep at their home – is exactly the community spirit that characterizes the TdP rides today.
The Ride of Your Life
For Lisa and Jill and so many other young adults diagnosed with breast cancer, Tour de Pink is about much more than just a bike ride. It’s also about tapping into the YSC and TdP communities that will be there for a lifetime.
“At one point, I really was kind of lost as to where to go. So I went to Joy Simha, a YSC co-founder, and she picked me up and took me to a doctor that had been part of YSC’s research group.”
As someone living with a long-term metastatic diagnosis, Lisa has experienced that support first hand. “At one point, I really was kind of lost as to where to go. So I went to Joy Simha, a YSC co-founder, and she picked me up and took me to a doctor that had been part of YSC’s research group. That doctor recommended the neurosurgeon that I have now, who helped me through metastatic cancer that spread to my brain. I wouldn’t be here today without YSC.”
Jill agrees. “Even though I’ve out-aged the focus of YSC, once a survivor always a survivor. It doesn’t matter. You will always be part of this community because this is a sisterhood and you’re in it forever.”
Asked for advice for other young adults facing a breast cancer diagnosis, she echoed the YSC mantra be your own best health advocate. “If you think that you need a doctor to look at what you’re feeling, and your doctor says don’t worry about it – you need to go to a different doctor. Breast cancer does not discriminate. Age does not matter. Don’t take no, be your own best advocate.”
Join the Tour de Pink Team
Join the Tour de Pink team to celebrate 15 years this October. Use discount code SpringIntoTDP for $99 registration throughout the month of April.