Hello! My name is Elana Fata. I’m 25 years old and living in the freezing state of Michigan! I found out I was BRCA2 positive when I was 19 years old. When I got the news, I immediately broke down. I felt alone, scared and so uncertain about my future. My family rarely talks about the BRCA mutation, despite our history of breast and ovarian cancer and my grandpa’s death at 55 years old from pancreatic cancer. This lack of communication led me to feel like I had no one to talk to.
I found FORCE when I felt most alone. Shortly after a small surgery to remove what doctors thought was melanoma on my breast, I convinced myself to attend a FORCE support meeting. I was extremely nervous to go, figuring I would be the only one to show up. Little did I know, FORCE was about to become a huge part of my life. I walked into a group of inspiring, strong, and brave women who made me realize for the first time that I was not alone. The group consisted of women who were BRCA positive, battling cancer, and survivors. I had people to talk to, people who cared, and people who were going through the exact same things I will probably go through some day. FORCE allowed me to let go of my fears, empower myself through knowledge, and create an amazing support system.
While I was learning about my genetic mutation and the FORCE community, I began wondering if there were other women my age who also felt alone. I’d found it very difficult to find BRCA-related resources for young women, or previvors, people to talk to, the right doctors, and reliable research. So, I became a Peer Navigator volunteer for FORCE in January 2015, and I am lucky enough to help provide these resources and support to young women around the country, many of whom have become amazing friends! This organization helps me live my life empowered each day, and I strive to extend this empowerment to other young women. I want my Peer Navigation matches to know that they have helped me as much as I have hopefully helped them!