With our first official Give Back Campaign, we knew exactly where we wanted to start. We’re donating 5% of all proceeds from Laser Pink TickTalk 4 and Pink Twists Headphones orders to go towards breast cancer prevention, research, and treatment for the month of October. Breast cancer is a cause near and dear to our hearts–most of our team is made up of women and all of our team have someone close to us who is or has battled the disease.
We sat down with TickTalk co-founder, Ying Gong, to talk about her experience as the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, how the disease has affected her family, and why this cause means so much to TickTalk.
Why is breast cancer important to TickTalk as a brand?
Breast cancer is a disease that affects us all–everyone knows someone who’s battled or is currently battling. Nonprofits like the Breast Cancer Research Foundation are helping to fund research, assist with prevention, and eliminate disparities faced by underrepresented minorities around the world.
We believe in putting our values into action–placing people, positive impact, and inclusion at the heart of everything we do. We want to do our part to see the breast cancer movement continue to raise awareness, drive progress, and ultimately find a cure for this disease through advances in research, education, and health care.
Why did you choose breast cancer as the cause to launch TickTalk Gives?
Launching TickTalk Gives with our first official Give Back Campaign to help breast cancer survivors and fighters was a perfect fit. As the leading creators of children’s smartwatches in the U.S., over half of our customers are mothers. Breast cancer is currently the top cause of death for women, with 1.2 million people worldwide diagnosed and 500,000 killed every year.
Our goal is to use our platform to give women the resources and information they need to prioritize their health, while also giving children a basic understanding of breast cancer, prevention, and pink ribbon activities to get involved and feel empowered.
Can you tell us about your experience as the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and watching your mother battle the disease?
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 12 years old. Fortunately, she discovered it at an early stage, going through surgery and subsequently chemotherapy for 8 months, recovering gradually. I witnessed first-hand my mother’s pain with breast cancer, weakness after surgery, struggles with chemo, and low self-esteem after her mastectomy. I felt her change physically, emotionally, and mentally.
For many breast cancer survivors, like my mom, the pain of surgery and treatment is temporary, but the psychological impact is long-lasting. My mom didn’t wear a low neckline for 8 years, because she didn’t want people to see her scar. Before being diagnosed, she swam frequently, but after her mastectomy, she never swam again because she didn’t feel comfortable wearing a bathing suit.
She eventually joined a club for breast cancer survivors and met other fighters like her. They organize many activities and events to actively fight against the disease, encourage patients, support one another, and show the beauty of health. My mother finally was able to emerge from the shadow of her illness and now lives a healthy, happy, and confident life. She’s turning 70 years old this year and still volunteers at the club, telling her story as a survivor, sharing her own experience, and encouraging women and men who are currently battling to fight their disease with confidence.
My mom’s experience taught me a lot, like the importance of prevention from a young age. I hope to help breast cancer survivors, like my mom, and people currently battling to help them overcome the impact of the disease and pain on both their bodies and minds, to live bravely and confidently.
This must have affected your entire family, even after your mother recovered. Has it affected your daughter in any way?
My daughter knows her grandmother is a breast cancer survivor and she chooses to donate her allowance every year at Pink Ribbon events. She also volunteers at the breast cancer club that her grandmother joined years ago with our entire family. In my mind, charity is a spiritual continuation, a kind of inheritance. My mom’s experience and her dedication to helping others have inspired me, and I hope to pass on to my daughter. Similar to a pink ribbon, it’s tied to all of our hearts and connects us in an unbreakable way.
What advice would you give to someone that has a loved one currently battling the disease?
As a family member of a breast cancer survivor, it’s important to understand their experience and perspective. No matter how outgoing or cheerful they were before the disease, it attacks more than their physical well-being. They need understanding, encouragement, and companionship to help give them the courage and support to face treatment and recovery.
I also cannot stress enough how important it is to give our loved ones the information for early prevention, detection, and treatment of the disease. Especially for those with a family history of breast cancer, please teach your children the importance of regular self-examinations and inform your family doctor to be proactive. We hope that with our Give Back Campaigns, we can encourage parents to prioritize their health, to give them the understanding and resources to live a healthy, happy life.