Note: This post, which originally was published on 1/1/15 has been updated and reposted on 12/31/16.
New Year’s is always a nostalgic time for me. Tonight at just a few seconds after the stroke of midnight, FORCE and the community we have built will turn 18! In
1999, I founded FORCE, not because I made a conscious choice to start a nonprofit organization on New Year’s Day, but because following my recovery from cancer, that day signified the tipping point between my need to rejoin my life-in-progress as a veterinarian and my desire to affect positive change—through more information, research and resource—for the HBOC community. The goal then, as it remains now, was to improve the lives of people facing hereditary cancer, and to make sure that no one has to face this experience alone!
The work of FORCE has not always been easy, especially in the early days of FORCE, when we had only a small, volunteer team. And even now, eighteen years later, we still face challenges. In 2016 we lost 100s of hours of effort and tens of thousands of dollars with the cancellation of our 10th annual conference due to hurricane Matthew. But we are a community that possesses great resilience and passion. Thanks to the dedication of our staff and the help of over 300 devoted volunteers, we were able to reschedule the conference for June 8-10, 2017. And, as always, we look forward to continue serving our community in the new year through our slate of strong programs and initiatives.
I hope that our community too feels energized and hopeful. In the spirit of shared enthusiasm, here is a list of things that people can do to effect positive change for themselves, for the HBOC community, and for FORCE:
- Donate to FORCE in honor of our 18th anniversary and to help us continue our important work
- Participate in research by taking 20 minutes to enroll in the ABOUT Network Research Registry.
- Read our recent blog on sharing the gift of information about genetic counseling and testing with your relatives
- Receive training to participate in research advocacy by applying for FORCE’s Research Advocacy Training (FRAT) Program.
- Search our featured research page for studies that you or a loved on may qualify for.
- Sign up for a Team FORCE event or create your own event
- Volunteer for FORCE.
- Register for the 2017 Joining FORCEs Conference. Invite a relative or friend to come with you.
- Attend a FORCE group meeting and share your story with others.
- Answer someone’s post on our message boards.
- Honor someone special by creating a tribute page.
- Upload your post-mastectomy photos to our password protected photo gallery, so others will feel less afraid of what they will look like after mastectomy.
- Sign up for FORCE bulletins, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter so you can stay updated on topics of importance to the HBOC community.
- Tell a health care provider or relative about FORCE and the work we do for the HBOC community.
To everyone in the community, Happy New Year! Be empowered and be well!
Tags: brca, BRCA 1, brca research, brca testing, BRCA1, breast cancer, breast cancer prevention, gene testing, previvor;pre-vivor;high-risk;breast cancer risk;ovarian, screening and prevention