We are three sisters that have taken drastic and controversial steps to alter our future.
We were one of several original families studied to help isolate the BRCA1 genetic mutation in the early 1990's. At one point, our family had the most significant history of breast and ovarian cancer ever documented in the United States. It was the identification of the BRCA1 gene mutation and its connection between breast and ovarian cancer using our family’s DNA that made us “famous.” Not the claim to fame we were hoping for in life.
But this gene didn't start with us. Our mother, Susan, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 32. Thankfully, she fought it and went on to dig deeper into her family's history of cancer. What she found caught the eye of Dr. Henry Lynch who is known as the "Father of Hereditary Cancer." Our mother's mother, Elda, died of ovarian cancer at the age of 44. In addition, her mother died and many of our mothers aunts died. We can actually trace our family's history of cancer back to Poland in the late 1860's. Agnes Kanuith and Joseph Trunt, our great-great-great grandparents were married in Poland and immigrated to the United States in 1869. On that boat from Poland to the United States, Agnes and Joseph carried more than their belongings. Either Agnes or Joseph also carried within their DNA the BRCA1 gene mutation. Joseph and Anges passed what we now know to be the BRCA1 gene mutation to their daughter, Sophia, who passed it to her daughter, Grace, who passed it to her daughter, Elda, who passed it to Susan who passed it to us. All of these women, with the exception of our mother, have died from cancer.
And we know it won't end with us which is why we are committed to spreading awareness about genetic testing and why we want to encourage women to be advocates for their health.