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Linda Bonanno
Donna Cioffi

 

Linda Bonanno was born Linda Jerbic in Trieste, Italy. She spent the first two years of her life in a refugee camp in a suburb called Padriciano with her Mother and sister following their move to Italy. Her roots are Croatian on both sides. Raised by a single Mother, she spent her childhood in the streets of the public housing establishment she lived in with big dreams and no means.

Thanks to a mother that was fluent in many languages and well educated in her native country and beyond, Linda was exposed to the beauty of art, ballet, classical music and literature. Ballet was and remains Linda’s first love.

At the age of 18 she decides to make a big move to Milan, Italy attending philosophy classes at Universita’ Statale di Milano. Milano proves to be a great choice leading to her move to Los Angeles.  She spends the next 7 years involved in modeling and acting, appearing in numerous editorials and commercials: most notably for Coors Light and Bank Of America.

In 1998 the move back to Italy following her Mother illness and her heartbreaking passing in 1999. Throughout this year’s she spends time modeling in Greece with Action’s models, in Milan with The Fashion Model agency until her move to New York City in 2000.

In Manhattan she models with ID models and is involved in a variety of small jobs to make ends meet in such a competitive market, from hostessing to party promoting. In 2005 she marries John Bonanno a businessman of Italian roots and moves to Long Island where she still resides today. She models while pregnant with “Expecting Models” in NYC and appears on GOOD MORNING AMERICA.

Mother of two adorable boys name Valerio and John Jr., Linda just recently made the jump from full time Mother and housewife to co- founder , partner and chief creative officer of ” got checked?” THE BRAND.

Following her breast cancer diagnosis in 2011 and the fateful encounter with Donna Cioffi of “First Company Pink” Linda felt compelled to figure out the way to change the course of things for so many young women, by recreating and implementing today ‘s breast cancer awareness campaign to become more approachable and comprehensible to our under informed youth. “got checked?” THE BRAND was born as a result. Supported by Donna Cioffi and her established charity, FIRST COMPANY PINK.

In a year span Linda proceeded to create and produce key elements of this brand umbrella such as a fashion show, a mini couture active wear line, the production and execution of song lyrics to the brand anthems and their touching music videos, a fresh and authentic book for youth called “got checked?” DECODE YOUR FUTURE and a signature party now operating successfully from NYC to Long Island called ” DOWN WITH PINK.”

Linda remains committed to youth and raising awareness, through hip- hop , being an enthusiastic connoisseur of it . She’s a firm believer in music ‘s healing power. There are quite a few new development with “the brand” and interest in it is growing daily. She recently fell in love with skiing and is dedicated and diligent in pursuing this new passion.

On her bucket list of things to do is expanding her knowledge in a few more languages. She is fluent in Italian, Serbo-Croatian. An avid traveler she counts an impressive list of friendships around the globe and is militant in the pursue of human rights and women’s rights specifically. She considers herself one color, the color of flesh and a citizen of the world.

Donna Cioffi is the president and founder of “First Company Pink” a non-profit organization, whose mission is focused on early prevention and funding the world’s renowned scientists and researchers in the battle against breast cancer.

A mother and a survivor herself, she is extremely dedicated in her quest to reinforce the importance of early intervention through education and action. In 2012 she was compelled to put her efforts of raising awareness while calling all to act on it, into a “two simple words campaign “that would change everything. “got checked?” was born. A simple question that demands an immediate answer: yes or no!

A new era of educating youth and all populations about breast cancer and its risks started taking shape, with this new movement asking you to take responsibility for your health and body.

Donna was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and grew up in Howard Beach, Queens with two siblings, Roseanne and Rocco. The middle child of a third generation Italian family of Sicilian and Neapolitan descent she was raised in a loving Roman Catholic household. Despite the stereotype of the middle child syndrome, Donna grew up happy and well rounded with a solid example of hard work, sacrifices and dedication from her parents.

Following her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery, Donna and her sister were left with a very strong message. The importance of remaining vigilant and getting breasts exams at the early age of 25. In 1982 after graduating from Christ The King High School, she worked briefly at the United Overseas Bank in Manhattan when finally she decided to follow her true passion at the time: the fashion industry. She became account executive for a denim giant named: Corniche. It was at Corniche that she was approached to become their feature model and a new career started for both print and runway modeling. Young Donna was featured in household magazines such as Seventeen, Sportswear International and many others. Her fresh and approachable look always a hit.

Her extensive traveling and the opportunity to encounter so many individuals allowed her to further discover a new passion: always including everyone, uplifting the needy and altogether the art of creating a dedicated power team.

After her marriage in ’88 and the birth of her Son, Gary jr. Donna stepped away from her career to dedicate herself full time to her family and her 3 precious children. In 2009 everything came to a halt. After receiving a breast cancer diagnosis Donna was informed of the need to remove her right breast and the suggestion of removing the left breast with a prophylactic mastectomy. A difficult decision to be made under pressure, a decision that would affect her future, her family, her outlook on life. In the moment the choice had to be made, the war boots were laced up and the battle began….

Choosing to live came with sacrifice, but the reward was Donna’s call to stand up and take responsibility by creating a strong army around her. This sea of women, this faithful army, became in 2010, what is known as FIRST COMPANY PINK. The organization efforts are today aligned with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, raising funds for lifesaving clinical and translational research while promoting wellness and increasing public awareness with her “got checked?” campaign.

Donna ‘s hard work paid off when the ” got checked?” campaign was recognized by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, as a slogan for the month of October, in 2014 and in 2015. County officer Mangano awards Donna five consecutive years starting in 2011 with “The Nassau County Office Of The Executive Citation Award.”

In 2012 and in 2015 respectively two other awards are presented to Donna: The Suffolk

County Legislature Proclamation award and The 10 Most fascinating Women from Long Island. In 2014 The Rosa Mystica Foundation of America offered Donna a seat on their board and awarded her the “Very Honorable Humanitarian Award ” for her work with her Charity First Company Pink.

A fateful meeting in 2010 with fellow breast cancer survivor Linda Bonanno proves to be just the next piece of the puzzle. A partnership that in 2015 under Bonanno’s creative vision, solidifies the birth of the “got checked?” brand. A perfect union of values and ideas allow Donna and Linda to create what we see today. A young brand, with a responsible message for every woman everywhere, filled with music, dance, fashion, health, fitness and spirituality.

Donna’s biggest goal in this global crisis that breast cancer represents is: to have the “got checked?” slogan recognized throughout the US Government as an all year round campaign and call to action while implementing “Breast health education “in school curriculums to address the urgency after the realization that awareness needs to start that early. Working in close knit with gynecologists and knowing that these doctors are most women first seen specialists, Donna has currently embarked in an exciting new passion for what could change the future for many women: genetic testing.

Donna youthful approach to life and her love for dance and music are uplifting and gratifying. She is adamant in always creating an atmosphere of unity and camaraderie while truly out to support and endorse any venture initiated by her fellow women. Her Motto is: being a woman is a privilege, an honor and a responsibility, do not underestimate the power you we’re given and keep pushing for what you stand for.

On her bucket list is traveling around the world to admire the beauty of it all, while bringing the “got checked?” campaign where it’s needed most. It’s an all consuming and rewarding passion that gives meaning to each and every day in a life of a woman that wants to make a difference around her while healing herself. Donna currently resides with her family on Long Island while also enjoying regular trips to Manhattan and the boroughs always bringing a message of hope.