Although asking friends and family to donate to a specific cause is not among my favorite things to do, I'm willing to do it once a year on behalf of FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, whose 2014 fundraising campaign is underway. I wholeheartedly believe that I would not be where I am in my BRCA journey today were it not for this incredible organization that is devoted solely to providing up-to-date information, resources, and support to the individuals and families that are at risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome.
I will say, however, that I am proud and honored to give back to FORCE as one of two volunteer outreach coordinators in New York City. In this role, I work with my partner coordinator to schedule, organize and help facilitate peer-to-peer support meetings on topics of interest to the hereditary cancer commuity; provide one-on-one support to members dealing with emotional and physical impacts of their BRCA status; and manage regular communications to members of FORCE's NYC group. I also speak and write frequently about BRCA gene mutations in an effort to raise awareness about their presence, particularly in the Ashkenazi Jewish community, where one in 40 individuals (both women and men) is a carrier, and most of these people are unaware of their status.
Indeed, until four years ago, when my sister (thankfully, she's negative) and I took the initiative to get tested after we lost our mom to exceedingly virulent breast cancer, we, too, were unaware of the presence of a BRCA mutation in our family. Although we'll never know how different our family's story might have been had we known about the mutation sooner, if my work with FORCE can prevent even one other family from enduring what we did because we didn't know, I believe some good will come from our experience and that my endeavors will contribute to the Jewish concept of tikkun olam -- repair of our world.
Because FORCE has been been -- and continues to be -- a tremendous blessing to me and to so many others, I would be exceedingly grateful for your support during this year's fundraising campaign. (Donating through my FirstGiving page is simple, fast, and fully secure.)
Thank you, as always, for your support of me and of FORCE, the organization that means so much to me.