A FORCE Named Fund provides donors with the opportunity to make gifts that will have a lasting impact while recognizing your family, or honoring or memorializing a loved one.
Linda Pedraza was a member of the FORCE Board of Directors and a staunch patient advocate for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. She survived ovarian cancer, only to succumb at age 45 of breast cancer.
We have created the Linda Pedraza Memorial Scholarship Fund in Linda's name to honor her memory. Donations to FORCE are tax-deductible. 100% of the fund donations will go to provide financial support to people who cannot afford to attend our national conference.
Many companies will also match donations made by their employees. Please ask your employer if your company has a matching gifts policy.
To donate via check, please put Linda Pedraza in the memo field, make check payable to FORCE and mail to: FORCE, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, 16057 Tampa Palms Bvd., W, Tampa, FL 33647.
Words cannot express just how grateful I am to FORCE and the generous donors to the Linda Pedraza Scholarship Fund for giving me and my sisters the opportunity to attend such a wonderful and educational conference.
Until the conference my sisters never accepted my diagnose of breast cancer or the possibility of a hereditary link to my diagnosis. Through attending the conference my sisters now better understand their own risk factors.
In the documentary In The Family one of my sisters said about her cancer risk, "If it is unknown to me, let it stay unknown." Since the conference two of my sisters have agreed to inquire about genetic testing for themselves.
I am a survivor of stage IV breast cancer and I live in a predominantly African-American, low income neighborhood. It is often hard for women here to get access to proper care and information. I have shared the information that I learned at the conference with other high-risk members in my local community.
I thank FORCE for providing my family with the information and loving support that has led them to open their eyes and confront the cancer risk in our family and for providing me with the opportunity to give back to my community by sharing the life-saving information that I learned at the Joining FORCEs Conference.
I was 33, unmarried, and childless when I tested positive for the BRCA mutation.
My appointment to hear my results was in the same medical complex where my sister Mary was recovering from bilateral mastectomy. At 36, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and positive for a BRCA mutation.
Despite seeing the effects of cancer up close, I wasn't fully convinced of its power. Although surgery was an option I had considered, my fear led to inaction.
Then I met Linda Pedraza through the Joining FORCEs Conference.
Without the generosity of donors to the conference scholarship fund, I wouldn't have been able to attend. At the time, I didn't earn enough to travel to Tampa from Boston. I was fortunate to be awarded a scholarship.
As I watched In the Family at the conference, Linda Pedraza spoke to me. In the film Linda says, "I'm living proof that the technology doesn't always catch things."
Living proof. And then I realized: Linda isn't living anymore.
It was the conference, and Joanna Rudnick's film that motivated me to collect
the information that I needed to consider my options. During that amazing weekend
I attended presentations by top researchers on all aspects of hereditary breast
and ovarian cancer. I gained courage from all the other people at the conference
trying to make sense of what to do with their hereditary knowledge. What I
gained at the conference was a valuable, even life-saving experience that I
will never forget.
"LUVN LFE". My husband and I were on the way to the hospital when we saw the words on the license plate of the car in front of us. Those words became my spiritual motto on the morning of June 20, 2007. That was the day of my prophylactic bilateral mastectomies.
The words seemed preordained and calmed my fears. After all, that was the reason for my surgery. I love my life and will do what it takes to preserve it. I'm a previvor.
My hope is that I will see my children grow up. My mother was not able to do that. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of thirty-eight and passed away within 5 months. I was sixteen with four younger siblings; my youngest sister was only ten months old. In addition to my mom, my grandmother, aunt, sister, and cousin have all been affected by either ovarian or breast cancer.
Genetic testing revealed that I have the BRCA1 mutation. Thanks to the generosity of others, I received a scholarship to the conference through the Linda Pedraza Conference Scholarship Fund. The information I received at the conference, helped empower me to make decisions and move forward with a management plan. I met so many wonderful women who were willing to talk and share their stories. I realized that I wasn't alone in this journey.
I thought that when I was finished with my surgeries I would want to forget about all of this, and go on with my life. However, I've become passionate about FORCE and the many ways the organization can help women and their families with issues surrounding hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. I am an Outreach Coordinator for Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky and I'm loving life!!!