First, I should say that my daughter, Olivia, is organizing this event, along with my son, Mason. I am so proud of her for shedding light on this important issue. I am proud that she is empowered to stand up and help other girls who might be worried about their genetic dispositions. I am also sad that this is a worry in her life.
My mother died from ovarian cancer when I was 12 and my sister was 10. She fought hard for 4 years while she was constantly in and out of the hospital and surgery after surgery. It was a hard 4 years, devastating to watch and ultimately left us motherless at a very young age. Even scarier, every woman in my family, from my mother's generation and back, had either breast or ovarian cancer. Scary! So as my sister and I grew up, we knew that this would be a very strong possibility in our future. Nine years ago, I had BRCA genetic testing, to determine my predisposition for the hereditary cancers (breast and ovarian). I tested positive for a BRCA mutation, giving me an 87% chance of breast cancer and 74% chance of ovarian cancer.....Frightening!! I had 2 little kids to think about, and looking back on my childhood - I couldn't imagine leaving my kids motherless. In this day-in-age, I had choices that my mother did not have. I had knowledge that my mother did not have. I felt empowered and knew that I had no choice but to go through the numerous surgeries to ensure my health and future. I felt lucky to have that choice that my mother, my grandmother, my great aunts did not have. In 2009 I became a PREVIVOR.
While I am incredibly lucky and grateful to have the knowledge and choices that generations before me didn’t have, I want better knowledge and choices for my children. The Basser Center for BRCA is the first comprehensive center for the research, treatment, and prevention of BRCA-related cancers T The Center is focused on ground-breaking research, including the promise of a vaccine to prevent BRCA-related cancers. My goal through this event is to bring awareness to PREVENTATIVE measures. To make people aware of their background and genetics to be empowered for their future. Through my journey and by telling my story, several women have gotten tested that didn't even know that they needed to or that they were at risk. One of them tested positive for a BRCA mutation and take prophylactic measures to save her future. Awareness is key! So while it is a private thing to go through, I feel compelled to shout it out and try to save more lives.
Help me do that by supporting this event. Donate money if you can! Share my story and talk about it! Spread the word!
PREVIVOR: individuals who are survivors of a predisposition to cancer but who haven't had the disease.