In 2006, my mother decided to go through genetic testing after watching her mother pass away from ovarian cancer as a teenager, as well as her cousin from breast cancer. When the results came back and my mother found out that she was BRCA1+, she wasted no time in moving forward with consultations to have a bilateral mastectomy and oophorectomy. At age 16, I watched my mother go through the process and procedures both emotionally and physically. Did she feel bad for herself? Never. This was her opportunity to ensure that she would be around for all of her children's life events and to live a healthy life. To be a previvor.
At age 18, my younger sister and I decided to go through genetic testing ourselves. Why at such a young age? Because knowledge is power. We both received positive results. Do we feel bad for ourselves? No. Because having the opportunity to be proactive with this information is more than we could ask for.
Simultaneously, our genetic counselor referred us to Bright Pink as an outlet to connect with other women who had been effected by breast and ovarian cancer, specifically with BRCA. Over the last 9 years, I have volunteered with Bright Pink as a Pink Pal where I have the opportunity to connect with other young women who are thinking about going through genetic testing or have found out that the are BRCA+. It's amazing for me to be able to learn from these women as much as they are able to learn from me. The Bright Pink community has taught me so much over the years and will continue to have an impact on my life.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to run the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on behalf of Bright Pink to continue to raise awareness and research around breast and ovarian cancer. This journey is one that I'm not only doing for myself, but for my family, friends, the Bright Pink community and those who has been affected by breast and ovarian cancer directly and indirectly.
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