FORCE has helped my family manage our cancer risk while building incredible friendships and meeting wonderful members just like us along the way. As a breast cancer survivor and having two children, Richard and Jennifer, who inherited my BRCA 1 mutation, we became passionate about making a difference and chose many different ways to volunteer and provide assistance since 2005. Our roles ranged from providing one-to-one support in the Metropolitan areas of Washington DC to advocating on behalf of FORCE by sitting on many different panels with journalists and physicians including the American Healthcare Association and NIH, as well as visits to Capitol Hill. Nationally, we raised awareness with interviews that were featured on MSNBC, CBS, ABC’s Nightline and in the HBOC film documentary, In the Family, directed by Joanna Rudnick via Kartemquin Productions; and our family’s story is going to be described in a book that is being released in 2017, written by Bonnie Rochman, a NY Times scientific/health journalist.
We have participated in all of the Joining FORCEs conferences since 2005 and in many research studies to help improve options for the next generation. In addition, we have spent a lot of time researching our family’s genealogy and health history on various ancestry websites and developed and shared our personalized family history via a tri-fold display at many local conferences to help raise awareness with real faces. As a Peer Support Group Leader, I have organized meetings with and without special guest speakers, represented FORCE at local conferences and have fundraised to help continue FORCE’s important programing.