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Knowledge is power: Learn what you can about BRCA breast cancer gene

Merry Prostic, Guest Columnist

The song from the musical “Annie” begins with these lyrics: “The sun will come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun.” However, for our daughter Elizabeth, there will be no more tomorrows or sunshine.

Elizabeth passed away 10 years ago from metastatic breast cancer that was facilitated by a mutation of the BRCA1 gene. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}We did not know that she possessed the genetic mutation until the day she passed away. Perhaps we could write a different story, had we only known.

Because our Elizabeth and her husband Michael (and many family members) graduated from The University of Pennsylvania and had great experiences there, we decided to honor her memory by endowing The Elizabeth Prostic Memorial Outreach Program at The Basser Center for BRCA. The Center is affiliated with Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, and is devoted to studying the BRCA genes. It is a national leader in the development and creation of clinical trials for the prevention, diagnosis and treatments of cancer. 

On Thursday evening, Sept.17, this outreach program will officially kick off in our own Kansas City community. We’ve teamed up with Women’s Philanthropy of Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City to bring the program here. The evening will have an educational focus discussing the BRCA gene and current research and options for at-risk patients with BRCA mutations. The presentation that will take place in the White Theatre at the Jewish Community Campus will feature a panel of experts on BRCA including Dr. Susan Domchek, executive director at the Basser Center and Debra Collins, a University of Kansas Medical Center geneticist. The panel, moderated by KSHB news anchor and breast cancer survivor Cynthia Newsome, will also include two local BRCA mutation carriers sharing their personal journeys.  The program is free and open to the public.

This outreach program will help share Elizabeth’s story and help others prevent the tragedy that our family has endured. We feel that by helping others make proactive decisions regarding their health, Elizabeth’s presence is always reinforced for us. We want others to “avoid the avoidable” by taking action and become educated about BRCA. Knowledge is power!

The Elizabeth Prostic Memorial Outreach Program launch

Thursday, Sept. 17

7:30 p.m.

White Theatre

Registration preferred by Sept. 14. Make reservations at jewishkansascity.org/BRCA or call 913-327-8100.

Merry Prostic is the mother of Elizabeth Prostic, who passed away from BRCA related breast cancer.{/mprestriction}