There’s not much anyone can do about their genetic inheritance — the genes you get are the ones you’ve got.
But if those genes carry with them a heightened risk of cancer, well, you can do something about that.
Raychel Kubby Adler is proof positive. Born with the BRAC2 gene which greatly increases the odds of developing breast and ovarian cancer, Adler has taken steps to improve her own odds — including by undergoing a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy — and the odds of others through her efforts at raising awareness and money through the national organization FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered.
She also provides outreach for the organization locally, assisting women facing the same challenges she’s gone through.
And now her daughter is doing her part.
Marley Kubby Adler, a student at César Chávez Elementary School, doesn’t know if she inherited the gene her mother did — “I have a 50-50 chance,” she says — but she’s doing her part nonetheless to raise awareness and money in the fight against genetic cancers.
And she’s doing it one step at a time.
It all started when her mom returned from a FORCE conference last year.
She told Marley what she had learned about the importance of exercise, how it can play an important preventive role even for genetic cancers.
Adler does her part teaching spinning classes and running an exercise program for new parents.
Marley decided to start with simply walking more.
Armed with a pedometer her mom had received from FORCE, Marley began keeping track of her steps, with the goal of increasing the amount she walked by 10 percent. She learned that on average, she was totaling about 10,305 steps at school every day. She set the goal of adding 1,000 steps a day more. Turned out she added four times that, by doing things like walking the dog more often and playing basketball.
She’s also raising money for FORCE as part of the organization’s HEROS campaign.
Running through the beginning of July, the campaign is collecting donations for the fight against hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
Marley set the goal of raising $1,000, figuring she could get 100 people to donate $10 apiece. As of Thursday she was at $405 with several months to go. She’s spread the word at school and among family and friends, and many have come through, including several teachers at Chavez.
The message, she tells people, “is that it’s not about how many steps I take, it’s about raising money and awareness.
“Even if you don’t have the gene,” she said, “it’s good to know about it for other people.”
Her parents are very proud.
“She’s a thoughtful, aware kid,” said her dad, Mitch Adler. “She’s raising awareness about this topic, which is the biggest challenge. It’s something a lot of people don’t know about.”
And she’s doing it with a sense of fearlessness.
“It blows my mind sometimes that she can think ahead and not be afraid,” her mom said. “It makes me so happy that she’s looking at this in such a positive way.”
As it says on her FORCE fundraising page, Marley “is not waiting to get a title like ‘previvor’ to kick her into action. She is making change NOW so that she (and other girls like her) might have brighter options for their futures.”
Donate to her fundraiser by visiting http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/marleymovesmtns/heroes
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy