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Hi, my name is Mollie Smith; I am 22-years-old and I am BRCA 2 positive. I found out I was BRCA 2 positive when I was 19-years-old.
I remember it like it was yesterday. There I was on a chilly October morning sitting in the genetic counselors office staring at a piece of paper that said POSITIVE. From that day forward my life had changed.
After receiving my results I felt very alone. I was a transfer student at a new university and I didn't know of any college students with the gene mutation. That next fall, 2013, I decided to create an organization called BRCAn't Stop Me at Grand Valley State University. This organization was a way for me to find others who have the gene mutation and to help them feel that they are not so alone with their new diagnosis. It quickly turned into a way for me to have a voice. Before I knew it I was sharing my story about BRCA, helping newly diagnosed individuals find their voice and helping young adults schedule appointments to speak with a genetic counselor.
BRCAn't Stop Me is an organization that helps young adults with the BRCA gene mutation or who have a strong family history of cancer connect with other young adults going through similar experiences. I made it my mission to inform Grand Valley State University about the BRCA gene mutations. I truly do believe that knowledge is power and that it can save lives.
Today I am working with the Michigan Department of Community Health to expand BRCAn't Stop Me to Universities throughout the nation. All of our proceeds raised are used to benefit BRCAn't Stop Me's Mission of prevention and early detection of hereditary cancers. Our Zumba for a Cure event is our largest philanthropy event where all of the proceeds made during this event are donated to FORCE for hereditary cancer research. Our organization gives young adults a voice and also provides them with the proper knowledge about hereditary cancers so that they can make the decisions that are right for them.
FORCE has been incredible and we are beyond blessed to have them on our side. I recently completed VolunteerFORCE Academy training to become a Community Liaison for FORCE. I felt this is a perfect match with my outreach and awareness activities that I do through BRCAn't Stop Me and gives me the opportunity to spread the word about FORCE through my continued work.