Force-Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered
Thank you for visiting our fundraising page!
We are raising $10,000 to sponsor the Karen Huckfeldt Memorial Fund.
My mom, Karen, died of ovarian cancer November 15, 2003. I was three months pregnant with her first grandchild, my son Jack never got to know his grandma and we all lost the most important person in our lives. Ask anyone who knew her and they will tell you she was the kindest person they ever knew. She was sweet, kind, loving, stubborn, crafty, beautiful, smart and open hearted. She was a registered nurse and public health advocate, and worked in student health services at Oregon Health and Science University for 25 years! I think she would be embarassed - but so proud - to have her name associated with efforts that would raise awareness and educate people.
This fund is being established at the nonprofit organization called FORCE. Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) is dedicated to advocacy, awareness and support for those affected by hereditary cancer.
My family hereditary cancer story begins with my grandma Marian who died of ovarian cancer in January 2000. She was a two-time survivor of breast cancer and fought the ovarian cancer for 11 months, but died at the age of 89. At that time, my mom asked for prophylactic surgery for both breasts and ovaries, but was told by her insurance company and doctors that she was not high risk because my grandma was so old when she was diagnosed. She began having severe pains over the next few months which she attributed to an arthritic stenosis in her back. In October 2000, she thought she had appendicitis only to discover it was not; surgery confirmed it was Stage III ovarian cancer - widespread through her abdomen. She would be alive if she could have had the preventive surgery, she would be alive if they knew.
She had genetic testing done before she died and they discoved a variant of uncertain significance on her BRCA2 gene. She wanted our family to be tested also. It took me five years to finally do it - and I discovered that I had the gene also. I had already made the decision to have my ovaries out when my mom died; I was too scared of the possibilities if I didn't. But I needed more information on when, and how, and the risks, and the menopause! Executing my decision turned out to be harder than I thought it would be. I found FORCE shortly after this and was so relieved to find "my people"! I applied for, and received, a scholarship from the Linda Pedraza Scholarship Fund to attend the FORCE annual conference in June of 2009. Attending gave me the gifts of knowledge, support and empowerment. I was able to move forward and had the life saving surgery they wouldn't give my mom. In December 2010, I had a bi-lateral salpingo oopherectomy and hysterectomy and feel so relieved. I owe much to this organization, and that scholarship, and am so grateful for the amazing work they do.
This fund may well save someone else's life and for that we can all be proud to contribute in my mom's name! Many thanks to each and every one of you for all your support.