Dear Friends and Family,
Some of you have generously supported FORCE (Facing Our RIsk of Cancer Empowered) in the past; others now have the opportunity to do this for the first time. Most of you know my story -- I am a double cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and fallopian cancer in 2010. The fallopian cancer was diagnosed as a result of what was supposed to be preventative removal of my ovaries and tubes -- a surgery that no doubt saved my life because I would not have had any symptoms until the cancer was late stage and probably not treatable. My family (on my father's side) has been afflicted with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) for many generations -- if the scientists are right, all the way back to ancient Israel. Now that science has uncovered the genetic mutation that many members of my family share (BRCA1), my generation is the first to be empowered to make decisions to dramatically lower our risk of breast and ovarian cancer. We no longer need to consider ourselves "afflicted". Even for me, a double survivor, I can still reduce my risk of having cancer again. Too many women in my family have had to battle breast cancer multiple times because our BRCA1 gene that is supposed to repair damaged cells just doesn't work, As long as we have breasts, we are at risk.
On May 20, I will be having a preventative double mastectomy and reconstruction at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital where they have taken such good care of me over the past few years. The surgery will be done almost four years to the day that I found a lump in my left breast that turned out to be cancer. I have had almost four years to consider the step I am taking now. Over those four years, I have been supported and encouraged by so many people: my family, especially my cousins; my friends, colleagues and neighbors; the many doctors, nurses and other professionals at BIDMC; and my FORCE family. These are my heroes. Since my first FORCE conference in 2011, I have been inspired, informed, embraced and validated by the women I met through FORCE. Now, as a FORCE volunteer, I am trying to give back to other women and their families who are struggling with the many difficult decisions that need to be made when you are affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
So I am asking again to please consider a contribution to FORCE. The FORCE Heroes campaign runs through May, the month of my surgery. As my cousin Bryna so eloquently wrote in a similar request just before her surgery in January, I hope you'll take a look even if you don't want to give money - it links to the FORCE homepage which can provide information about genetic testing and HBOC. I hope you'll also spread the word to others - if you know people who have had a lot of family history of BC/OC, they should have this knowledge too - please do share.
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!