In 2013, I learned I was a carrier of BRCA1 faulty gene mutation of 5382insc, placing me at a high risk for breast, ovarian, uterine and pancreatic cancer. After letting this devastating blow set in, I began taking steps to ward off cancer including having both ovaries and uterus removed and placed on a high risk observation program for breast cancer, rotating between MRIS and Mammograms every six months.In early December of 2014, I went in for my routine screening for cancer when I learned my breast care doctor has taken an unexpected leave and not returning. I would need to locate a new doctor for treatment.Four months later, On April 23, 2014, my breast care specialist doctor, Dr. Corgan, died of breast cancer herself… in her 40’s of the very disease she was protecting me from. It was a bit too ironic, what are the chances of me being a carrier for BRCA one gene mutation and my own breast care doctor dying of breast cancer herself in her 40s. Her death was the nudge I needed to move forward with surgery to ward off breast cancer.I heard about Emory Winship Cancer Institute through a radio ad and began interviewing new doctors; My new doctor was fantastic and I trusted him instantly; we began working closely together for the next steps on my mastectomy; It would be a series of three surgeries, with the first one lasting about four hours. We decided to schedule the first surgery in November, and I would use the upcoming months to prepare for the invasive procedures.With the first surgery four hours long, I became hyper-focused on building up my lung capacity and decided becoming a serious runner would be the best path forward. I hired a running coach to help me with form and worked with a personal trainer to help me get in the best shape possible. I have not stopped running since.

What is a BRCA Gene

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce tumor suppressor proteins. These proteins help repair damaged DNA and, therefore, play a role in ensuring the stability of each cell’s genetic material. When either of these genes is mutated, or altered, such that its protein product is not made or does not function correctly, DNA damage may not be repaired properly. As a result, cells are more likely to develop additional genetic alterations that can lead to cancer.People who have inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 tend to develop breast and ovarian cancers at younger ages than people who do not have these mutations.For those of an Ashkenazi Jewish descent like me, our risk is 10X more likely than others to have this gene.Having a BRCA gene mutation is rare; According to Susan G Komen, less than 1% of our population has it.

BRCA ReBranded.

The BRCA gene is need of serious rebranding. Yes, the faulty BRCA impacts women, but it affects men too. The implications to my two boys if they inherited the gene will result in a much higher risk of developing male breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and a more aggressive prostate cancer.. and because of this, I am a huge supporter of companies that can help guide our medical community into precision medicine such as 23andMe and Myriad Genetics. Movember shared a study that ovarian cancer drug may help with prostate cancer.


  • Ilana Frenkel Kearns

    Strategic Business Operations and Communications Leader Connecting the Dots to Drive Process Improvement and Organizational Success | Chief of Staff


    With over a decade serving alongside top executives at global Fortune 500 and privately held companies as their trusted business partner and advisor, I provide strategic support for all operational efforts to relieve them of administrative functions, allow them to focus on strategic and tactical responsibilities, and achieve key business outcomes. The following are highlights of the value I’ve brought to organizations: Developed and lead and partnered with C-level executives to design and execute company-wide strategic initiatives, including working with department leaders to define, manage, and track their priorities. On-dollar projects, including new space build-outs, flagship events, and multiple-day offsite events to create team cohesion. Researched, prepared, and coordinated corporate communications and marketing programs to build awareness, and collaborated closely with internal and external partners to drive unmatched results. Guided companies towards increasingly sophisticated and effective use of technology, including effective remote work at the onset of COVID-19. Collaborated to produce and write articles, blogs, social media posts, and communications to build both professional and personal brands, increased partnerships, and boost revenue. Served as a Community Relations Strategy Leader for a multi-million-dollar corporation building relationships with 10+ unique nonprofits across the city of Atlanta and galvanizing volunteerism, sustainability, and people-driven community service. Reach out and connect with me here on LinkedIn so we can discuss the challenges you face with managing daily operations. I’d love to show you how I can lend my expertise to help solve them. Strategic Planning | Risk Management and Mitigation | Cross-Functional Leadership | Stakeholder Engagement | Corporate Communications | Project Management | Meeting and Event Management| Policy and Procedure Management | Collaborative Leadership | Workplace Culture | Resource Optimization | Conflict Resolution | Transparent Communications | Business Case Writing | Corporate Social Responsibility | Inclusion and Diversity