Joining FORCEs Against Hereditary Cancer

Joining FORCEs Against Hereditary Cancer® is an international conference designed by and for people and families affected by hereditary cancer.

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Annual Conference

Annual Awards


Spirit of Empowerment Awards 2018 

Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) presents its annual Spirit of Empowerment awards to recognize the contributions of individuals and organizations that help us educate and support the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer community.



Individual Commitment: Dave and Jessie Bushman 


Ever since Dave Bushman learned that he was BRCA1+, FORCE has been an important part of his family’s life. His mother died from breast and ovarian cancer at age 42 and he was always aware of the terrible toll cancer took on his family. Dave has done extensive genealogy research to track the trail of cancer that permeated his family through the generations.

Jessie, Dave’s wife, is not BRCA+ but had breast cancer three years ago. As a mother, spouse, and survivor, she has provided valuable emotional support and practical advice for families affected by BRCA and people dealing with breast cancer.

Their daughter Dana also tested positive for a BRCA mutation. At her urging, Dave and Jessie became actively involved in FORCE in 2012 and currently serve as peer navigators and peer support group leaders for the Northern New Jersey FORCE network. They speak at various community meetings, symposiums and panels about hereditary cancers. Additionally, Dave completed the FORCE Research Advocate Training program and serves on the ABOUT Network governance.

Research: Susan Domchek, MD 


Susan Domchek, MD is Basser Professor in Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania and serves as Director of the Basser Center for BRCA at the Abramson Cancer Center. Her work focuses on the genetic evaluation and medical management of individuals with inherited risk factors for cancer. Dr. Domchek is particularly interested in developing new cancer therapies, such as PARP inhibitors, for those with genetic risk factors.

An elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, Dr. Domchek is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She has authored/co-authored more than 250 articles in scholarly journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Domchek serves on a number of editorial review boards, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, as well as on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and FORCE.

Research: Mary-Claire King, PhD 

Dr. Mary-Claire King received her BA cum laude in Mathematics from Carleton College.  While she began her PhD in Statistics at the University of California at Berkeley, she soon switched to Genetics and turned her attention to breast cancer. 

Over the past 40 years, Dr. King’s passion for genetics has changed the way the world thinks about inherited cancer. She was the first to show that in some families, breast cancer is inherited as a result of mutations in a gene she named BRCA1. She also pioneered the use of genetic tools to support global human-rights efforts. In addition to her continuing work on inherited breast, ovarian and related cancers, her research interests include the genetic bases of schizophrenia and the genetic underpinnings of disorders such as autism in children. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the National Medal of Science and the prestigious Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science.  She is currently an American Cancer Society Professor at the University of Washington. 




2016 Recipients 

  • Advocacy: National Society of Genetic Counselors
  • Media: Alan Blassberg, Director,  “Pink & Blue: Colors of Hereditary Cancer” 
  • Individual Commitment: Brandi Forbes
  • Individual Commitment: Linee Zajic 
  • Individual Commitment: Jen and Glenn Cole
  • Research: Dr. Judy Garber, Director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Corporate Commitment: BFFL Co. (Best Friends for Life) 

2015 Recipients

  • Research: Dr. Alan Ashworth
  • Individual Commitment: Tara Freundlich
  • Advocacy: Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
  • Advocacy: Amy Cohen Epstein
  • Advocacy: Lisa Cohen

2014 Recipients

  • Arts & Media: Stacey Sager
  • Arts & Media: Kara DioGuardi
  • Arts & Media: Annie Parker
  • Individual Commitment: Kate Downey Berges
  • Indivdual Commitment: Karen Hurley, PhD
  • Corporate Committment: Sisco + Berluti
  • Research: Mark H. Greene, MD

2012 Recipients

  • Advocacy: Sharon Terry, President and CEO of the Genetic Alliance
  • Advocacy: American Civil Liberties Union organized the successful challenge of Myriad's gene patents.
  • Arts & Media: Dina Roth Port, award-winning freelance writer, journalist, and author.
  • Arts & Media: Joi Morris, author of Positive Results.
  • Individual Commitment: The Byer Family
  • Research: Steven Narod, MD, Tier I Canada Research Chair in Breast Cancer and a senior scientist at Women's College Research Institute.

2011 Recipients

  • Arts & Media: Kathy Steligo, author of the Breast Reconstruction Guidebook, and editor of Joining FORCEs newsletter.
  • Advocacy: Komen for the Cure, for the impact of their advocacy work on the lives of people facing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Advocacy: Ellen Matloff, MS, genetic counselor and director of Yale Cancer Center Genetic Counseling Program and plaintiff in the ACLU patent lawsuit.
  • Corporate Commitment: Tiny Little T Shirt Company
  • Individual Commitment: Dara & Molly Marias & Myron Caplan, The Butterfly Project
  • Research: Dr. Francis Collins

2010 Recipients

The inaugural Spirit of Empowerment awards were presented at the 5th Annual Joining FORCEs Conference in Orlando, FL. Recipients for the inaugural award were:

  • Arts & Media: Joanna Rudnick, Producer & Director, In the Family
  • Research:  Timothy R. Rebbeck, Ph.D., Cancer Center Genetics, Epidemiology and Risk Reduction Program at Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA
  • Advocacy: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
  • Corporate Commitment: Enell, Inc.
  • Individual Commitment: Michael Sosin

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered