Joining FORCEs Against Hereditary Cancer is an international conference designed by and for people and families affected by hereditary cancer or a BRCA mutation.
June 18-20, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott.
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.
Research: Dr. Alan Ashworth
Alan Ashworth, PhD is President, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine; and E. Dixon Heise Distinguished Professor in Oncology. Dr. Ashworth was a key part of the team that in 1995 discovered the BRCA2 gene. Ten years later, Dr. Ashworth identified away to exploit genetic weaknesses in cancer cells, including mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2, leading to a new approach to cancer treatment known as PARP inhibitors, which have now been approved for clinical use. His current research reflects his passion for the development of personalized cancer medicine, translating laboratory studies into improvements in patient care. Dr. Ashworth has been the recipient of numerous scientific awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Individual Commitment: Tara Freundlich
Tara Freundlich has been an active member of FORCE since learning of her BRCA2 mutation in 2002. She has been a tireless advocate for the HBOC community. Tara helped establish the FORCE Toll-Free Helpline where she has logged over 1200 hours fielding calls. She has hosted support meetings, been available to the media and helped organize both local and national fundraising events. As a result of her volunteer work with FORCE and a growing commitment to supporting others, Tara is now a Patient Liaison at Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, New Jersey.
Advocacy: Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) is the leading advocacy organization for women impacted by ovarian cancer. It connects survivors, women at risk, caregivers and health providers with the information and resources they need. FORCE and OCNA work together to ensure that ovarian cancer is a priority for lawmakers, and that the voices of those affected by ovarian cancer are heard.OCNA spearheads efforts to advocate for access to affordable, quality cancer care and prevention, and it supports funding for biomedical research at the National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program.
OCNA’s award will be accepted by Laura Koontz, PhD, Director of Policy for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.
Advocacy: Amy Cohen Epstein
Amy Cohen Epstein is the President and Executive Director of the Lynne Cohen Foundation. Established in 1998 in memory of her mother, the Foundation empowers women who are at risk for ovarian and breast cancer through education, preventive care and collaborative medicine. Since its inception, the Lynne Cohen Foundation has also established preventive care clinics throughout the country. In these clinics, at-risk women consult with a team of doctors who then collaborate to determine the best course of action for their patient. Amy’s efforts have been recognized by the Today Show, People Magazine, and Reader’s Digest Health Heroes Award.
Advocacy: Lisa Cohen
In the course of one year, Lisa lost her mother and sister to cancer, learned she was a mutation carrier, underwent preventive surgery, and discovered FORCE. Inspired by the feeling of community and the level of knowledge FORCE provided her, Lisa founded BRACHA, a nonprofit organization in Israel. BRACHA, which is Hebrew for “blessing” is the leading HBOC organization in Israel. Through the organization, Lisa works tirelessly educating, supporting, and advocating for all those who need it. Lisa feels especially blessed to have received so much from FORCE, and to be able to pass that gift on to help thousands of others.
The inaugural Spirit of Empowerment awards were presented at the 5th Annual Joining FORCEs Conference in Orlando, FL. Recipients for the inaugural award were: