Friday, June 18, 2010

I'm a Previvor

"What's a Previvor?" some of you may ask. Two years ago I was one, but I didn't know myself.

It was my genetic counselor Maude who first introduced me to the word.

I felt like I was being inducted into a club that I didn’t really want to join but at the same time I was curious to know more about. Over the ensuing months, as my genetic test results came back positive for the BRCA genetic mutation, putting me at advanced risk for both breast and ovarian cancers, FORCE became a regular fixture in my life. I regularly visited the website and various postings to learn about the different options for surveillance, surgery, and surgeons. I met other BRCA+ women through the site and a local support group organized by FORCE, and even raised funds for the organization during my first half marathon. Those five letters represented a lifesaver, in the midst of relatively uncharted waters.

So why tell you all this now. FORCE is one of several organizations taking part in the CHASE Community Giving Campaign that is giving away a total of $5 million dollars to split between 200 charities. All you have to do is vote for FORCE through Facebook and you could affect the lives of thousands of women like me - many of whom don't even know that there is a gentic test out there that can save thier lives. Thanks so much for reading this far, now get to the end and don't forget to vote!

A little bit about FORCE and the CHASE Community Giving Campaign (from Teri Smija):

FORCE is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the needs of and improving the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. They provide lifesaving information on the latest medical treatment and risk management, resources, and awareness.

Voting on Facebook starts on June 15, 2010 and the lucky 200 winning charities will be announced on July 13, 2010.

What would FORCE do with the money if they won?

For starters:

  • $1,000 delivers the latest in BRCA research and information to 500 families.
  • $500 gives 60,000 visitors access to their website for one month.
  • $300 provides a scholarship to FORCE’s annual conference to one person that could not otherwise attend.
  • $200 provides life-saving information to 100 people through their newsletter.
  • $100 provides phone-based support and resources via the Helpline for one month.
  • $50 provides a package of informational brochures to doctor’s offices and hospitals.

Just think – if $2250 can do all of that – how much good could be done even if we only place among the bottom 195, and win the lowest amount of $20,000! That’s a whole lot of help, to a whole lot of people!