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Joining FORCEs Conference

Joining FORCEs Against Hereditary Cancer is an international conference designed by and for people and families affected by hereditary cancer or a BRCA mutation.

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Annual Conference
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Annual Awards

Annual Conference

June 18-20, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott.

Spirit of Empowerment Awards 2015CompassionAward

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 ashworthAlan 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 Freundlichtara freundlich spirit of empowerment

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

ocna logoThe 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

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. 

lisa cohenAdvocacy: 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.

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
2014 Conference Videos

Watch the videos from a variety of presenters at our 2014 Joining FORCEs conference.


Raise awareness and money to fight HBOC with TeamFORCE.

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered