Force would like to acknowledge the donors of the Legacy Circle Planned Giving Society
There was a great deal of cancer in her family, so as a young woman, Sandi Ogin, a transplant to Denver from New York, was always ultra-careful with self-breast exams. On her father’s side of the family, there was a history of aunts and cousins with cancer experiences. Her own father had endured two different cancer episodes, eventually passing away from multiple myeloma. Before him, his mother had succumbed to what Sandi suspects was ovarian cancer.
“One day I felt something in my breast,” said Sandi, who was 34 years old then, in 1980, and the mother of three small children. “I promptly went to the doctor and was told it was likely fibrous tissue, and nothing of concern. There was no mammogram but I was asked to come back in three months.” Sandi did return three months later, and then again two months after that. Now eight months after the discovery, Sandi was scared because she felt the lump getting larger. This time, there was a mammogram and a tissue sample sent to Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital. While some of the reports were still unclear, eventually, her doctors found that Sandi did have an early stage breast cancer.
When Sandi’s doctor recommended a double mastectomy, she followed the advice with the idea that she would never need to fear a second cancer diagnosis. Sandi eventually underwent reconstructive surgeries.
“I was so grateful for my second lease on life, I wanted to give back to others,” notes Sandi. She began sharing her story with young survivors at support groups through her local hospital as well as the American Cancer Society. “It was so gratifying to be that person other women could look to at the five, 10 and 15 year survivorship milestones,” Sandi notes.
In 1998, given her family history, Sandi’s breast oncologist suggested she undergo genetic testing and counseling, which revealed she is BRCA1+. Until then, Sandi never considered that she might be at risk for ovarian cancer, but soon after, she elected to have an oophorectomy.
“I’m very proactive with my health,” notes Sandi, who today, in her early 70s, is an avid athlete. “I encouraged my children to be tested.” The family learned that two of the children are positive for the mutation as well. Sandi's daughter, Shara, who is currently pregnant and about to get married, has been active with a high-level of surveillance for more than half of her life.
Recently Sandi and her husband, Bruce, began thinking about their legacy and decided to create their will. The Ogins have many causes that they care about and have remembered in their estate plans. Thinking about her own cancer experience, Sandi reached out to her breast oncologist again, this time for advice on a charity to support in gratitude for her longevity. He suggested FORCE.
When Sandi was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1980, little was known about genetic predispositions for cancer. “My hope is to make a difference for future generations in the ways FORCE supports research and helps educate young women with hereditary cancer risk.”
This month, FORCE launches the Legacy Circle, a planned giving society that recognizes donors like Sandi when they inform us of their plans. We will recognize Sandi and her husband on the FORCE Donor Wall of Honor, which we will display for the first time at the 2018 Joining FORCES Conference in October. Sandi will also receive regular updates, including an exclusive opportunity to join a FORCE Update call with Executive Director Sue Friedman.
“When we made our plans, it was for the good of the cause,” notes Sandi. “We certainly do appreciate the recognition, though, especially while we are here to enjoy it!”
Do you already have plans for FORCE in your will? Why not let us know so we can recognize you on our Donor Wall of Honor? For more information on joining FORCE’s Legacy Circle, please contact Marcy Rubic, VP of Leadership Gifts at (866) 288-7475 ext. 715 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find more information by following this link.