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Welcome to the home page for the Australia Network for FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered! Here you will find information on our local efforts to provide information, support, awareness, and advocacy for individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Our Australia outreach coordinators are: Sina Toscano and Valerie Quirk.
A Note from Valerie
Hi there. My name is Valerie Quirk and I live in Sydney, Australia. I feel very privileged and honoured to be a co-ordinator here in Australia – an overseas branch of the US Facing our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) charity.
I am a Breast Cancer survivor of 21 years, had a bi-lateral mastectomy and tram flap reconstruction in October 2008 and diagnosed BRCA2+ in November 2009. Attending the FORCE Conference, Orlando USA, in June this year was such an empowering and affirming experience. The chance to meet others and to share life experiences with those who live with the knowledge of their BRCA mutation gives strength and validity to life changing options and decisions.
It is my hope that through this Australian branch of FORCE, we will be able to share, reflect and empower each other to live our lives where we have “support, education, advocacy, research and awareness specific to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer”. Welcome.
A Note from Sina
I am a previvor and I am proud.
My BRCA journey began in 2004 when my sister’s oncologist said "this could be hereditary". My sister was in the final stages of ovarian cancer. She tested positive for the BRCA 1 mutation and so did I.
I asked my genetic counsellor about support groups and was told there were none. So, I went on the internet and found FORCE, and realized I was not alone. With FORCE’s on line help, support and advice, I was able to fully begin my journey and make informed decisions regarding my own body and health. Within 2 weeks I had my first preventative surgery reduce my risk of ovarian cancer. The high risk of breast cancer still loomed over me and in May of 2009 I decided to undergo a Bilateral Mastectomy. In June of 2010 I was privileged to attend the FORCE conference in Orlando Florida where I became even more empowered. It was there I found my voice and the courage to use it.
I met other women who like me felt alone until we found FORCE and each other. It was truly an amazing experience. The bonds formed to achieve one goal - that no man or woman should face their BRCA journey alone or uninformed. My name is Sina I am a Co-Coordinator for Australia’s group.
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This site has been made possible by a generous grant from Morphotek.