I began attending FORCE meetings in Los Angeles in 2005 at age 24, right after I received my BRCA1 diagnosis. My mother, grandmother and other family members had tested positive when my aunt learned that she had a BRCA1 mutation and subsequently died from breast cancer in 2000. I was one of the youngest FORCE members at the time, but I felt that I needed as much information as possible and wanted to connect to others. Back then, few young women my age knew of their risk. I opted for a risk-reducing mastectomy when I was almost 28, before I had children. Now approaching 40, I am done having children, and I recently I had a salpingo-oophorectomy.
My mother and father, Paul and Ziva Kredow, served as FORCE Chicago Outreach Leader Volunteers for a decade and led the only men's and spousal support group at the time. They have been great role models for me. When I returned to Chicago, I stepped in as the next generation of Leaders with Stephanie[MOU1] and others. I have developed lifelong friendships because of FORCE and connecting with other women in similar situations.
Because of my involvement with FORCE, I became active with the Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics in Chicago, serving on their board of directors for the last three years. I have been involved in many of their events and presentations regarding BRCA and cancer, including hosting a “What's Jewish About BRCA?" panel with my mother and Dr. Susan Domchek. (The panel is now called "What's Jewish About Hereditary Cancer?").
My passion project has been filming my surgical journey to empower others. Twelve years and three children later, my project is nearing completion. My three kids and career keep me busy, but I hope to continue to serve, educate and empower the high-risk cancer community.