There are two heroes in my life: my mother Julia and my daughter Dana.
My mom was one of 9 children born to parents who emigrated from Austria-Hungary in the early 1900s. Her mother, Anna, developed breast cancer that went to her brain - she died in 1920, when Julia was just 6 years old. In 1922, her father took his youngest son and moved to Palestine, never to come back. Julia and her siblings were left in the care of relatives. Her sister Rose died of ovarian cancer in 1930 at the age of 35. My mom married my father in 1933. Her sister Esther died of breast cancer in 1939 at the age of 34. In between several miscarriages, I was born in 1943 and my sister Ann was born in 1947. In 1952, my mom was diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer and was in and out of the hospital until she died four years later at the age of 42. I cannot begin to imagine the multiple heartaches that these tragedies brought to my mom but throughout all of it she remained a kind, gentle and loving person. She is my hero.
My daughter Dana was born in 1976 [I used to refer to her as my Bicentennial Baby]. She grew up to be a smart, strong and determined woman. After my sister tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation, I was tested and was also positive. I had the unenviable task of calling my daughter and her brother Jay, and telling them the news. Both got tested. Jay was negative but in January 2011, Dana found out she was positive. She wasted no time - she immediately set out to learn all she could about BRCA, explored all the options and the different kinds of surgeries, interviewed a dozen different doctors all over the country and made the decision to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction [which she had in May 2011] and a total hysterectomy.[August 2011]. Through all of this, she has remained strong, determined not to let this stop her from living her life, and dedicated to helping other women going through the same ordeal. She is my hero.
Please help me honor the two heroes in my life by making a donation to FORCE, the only national organization concerned with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.
Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!