GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOOD) – On Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 at 8 p.m. Grand Valley State University (GVSU) students will gather at the Pere Marquette Room to raise funds for hereditary cancer research, the very disease that caused Angelina Jolie to undergo her prophylactic mastectomy and removal of her ovaries. BRCAn’t Stop Me, Phi Mu Sorority, and Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity will be holding the fourth Zumba for a Cure to take place in the Pere Marquette Room located in GVSU’s student center, the Kirkhof Center. BRCAn’t Stop Me focuses on prevention and early detection of hereditary cancers for young men and women at GVSU. All of the proceeds raised through Zumba for a Cure will go towards hereditary cancer awareness and research.
“Zumba for a Cure is a fun and active way for the students at GVSU and the surrounding community to learn about hereditary cancers while raising money for a cure,” said Mollie Smith, President and Founder of BRCAn’t Stop Me. The event is expected to have 200 to 300 students and surrounding community attend. “It is great to see so much support for a cause that is so close to my heart,” Smith said.
Smith was diagnosed with the BRCA 2 mutation in 2012. Genetic counselors suggest that a woman who is BRCA positive has a risk of developing breast cancer by 60-87 percent. The average woman without a positive BRCA gene has a 13 percent risk of developing breast cancer. BRCA positive women also have a 20-54 percent increased risk for developing Ovarian Cancer while the average population’s risk is 1.5 percent. After finding out this life changing information, Smith made it her mission to inform other young women and men about the BRCA gene mutation. “Zumba for a cure will help us continue to educate GVSU students about this gene mutation so that hopefully we can save lives,” Smith said. “We are so thankful to Phi Mu and Alpha Tau Omega for all of their efforts that helped us make this event possible.”
The guest speakers featured at Zumba for a Cure are Deb Duquette and Kait Moore. Deb is the Genomics Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. She was a guest speaker at last year’s Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered’s Conference and has also worked as a genetic counselor.
She is currently working with BRCAn’t Stop Me to establish BRCAn’t Stop Me into universities throughout the nation. Moore is a member of BRCAn’t Stop Me and the previvor guest speaker at this year’s Zumba for a Cure. Moore recently underwent a prophylactic mastectomy in December. She is the second youngest woman in Michigan to have this surgery.
Moore is BRCA 1 positive with a strong family history of cancer. “I don’t know what I would have done without this group,” said Moore. “This group is my family and I am so blessed that I had them by my side every step of the way during my surgery.”