This page is about HEROES.
My sister Courtney became a HERO when she battled breast cancer not once but twice by the age of 35 and learned that she had the BRCA 2 gene mutation. This mutation would significantly raise her lifetime risk of future breast and other cancers including melanoma, pancreatic, and ovarian. (Yes, some of the most serious and deadly cancers out there.)
When I was 31, I found out I carried the same BRCA 2 gene mutation and that I had at an almost 90% lifetime risk of developing cancer. I became what is now called a "PREVIVOR." When I was 40, Courtney became my personal HERO when she helped me face my risk and figure out how to significantly decrease this risk. She also introduced me to FORCE, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. FORCE is the only national nonprofit organization helping families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. And FORCE became my HERO.
Through FORCE, I connected with many other PREVIVORS who had already had risk reducing surgeries- preventive mastectomies, and oophorectomies (ovary removal). I also heard stories of women (and men) who were diagnosed with cancer, or who had lost thier lives to cancer. One day I looked at my 3 kids and my wonderful husband and it finally donned on me... I DID NOT WANT TO DIE OF CANCER! I did not even want to get diagnosed with cancer! And my family became my HEROES.
My family supported me through two preventive surgeries in 12 months, and now, 4 1/2 years later, I am so grateful! I have done what I can to live a long and cancer free life. There are not preventive surgeries for all of my cancer risks, and even with the preventive surgeries I have had, there is not a 100% guarantee that I won't still get cancer. It's just the best way we currently know how to reduce the risk.
My 3 children have a 50% risk of inheriting my BRCA 2 gene mutation and at age 18, they can choose to get tested. For my daughter, that is only 9 years away. I hope for one of two things. Either she does NOT inherit the gene mutation, or that through improved research for our affected population, she will have much different options to help her reduce her risk. My boys are not without risk either. Men affected by the gene mutation are also at a higher risk for developing melanoma, and breast, pancreatic and prostate cancer.
This is where you can become our HEROES. By making a donation to FORCE, you can help us and other families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. You can help FORCE continue to provide support and education to families, communities, and medical professionals about this cancer risk. You can also help provide funding for BRCA specific research for cancer fighting drugs, ways to prevent cancers from developing, and ways to reduce cancer risk.
As you know, my family and I have taken fundraising very seriously over the past 14 years, since my sister fought her first battle with breast cancer. I am asking you to be a HERO and help make a difference for my daughter and her possible risk of 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!