While no two stories about Jewish genetic disorders or hereditary cancers are the same, we recognize that it can be helpful to hear from–and connect with–others facing similar genetic health challenges.
Below are stories from members of the Chicagoland Jewish community that illustrate different aspects of Jewish genetic health and how the Sarnoff Center provides education and support.
If you would like to share your story or are looking to connect with others, please contact the Sarnoff Center at JewishGenetics@juf.org.
Hereditary Cancer Stories
Learn more about navigating BRCA testing and what comes after from real stories by real people affected by BRCA mutations, and hear from a genetic counselor about what happens in a counseling session and more. You can also find more about peer-to-peer support for families facing increased risk of cancer or a cancer diagnosis on the cancer resources page.
Iris’ Story (Video)
In 2008, Iris was diagnosed with breast cancer and opted to have a bilateral mastectomy and preventive surgery to remove her ovaries. Watch Iris' story.
Zach’s Story (Video)
Zach’s sister, Alexa, was diagnosed with breast cancer as a young woman. Her diagnosis spurred the family to examine their health history and ultimately led to the discovery of a BRCA mutation that had been passed down from Zach’s grandfather. Watch Zach's story.
Alyssa’s Story (Video)
Alyssa knew about her family history of cancer and her personal risk of a BRCA mutation. After several years of screenings and consideration, she decided to undergo a risk-reducing operation before having children. Watch Alyssa's story.
Jewish Genetic Disorders Stories
Learn more about what it means to be a carrier of a Jewish genetic disorder, and how carrier screening with genetic counseling can help each family make informed decisions around family building.
Carrier Screening: Two Family’s Stories
Two families share their stories about carrier screening and learning they were at risk to have a child with a genetic condition. They each chose the path best for their family and, today, have healthy children.
In 1999, I along with a few others founded the Center for Jewish Genetics. We founded the Center with the goal to educate the Jewish community about Jewish genetic disorders, and more.
What are prior participants in the Sarnoff Center’s carrier screening program saying?
“The screening made me feel confident getting pregnant.”
“I knew my husband was a carrier for Tay Sachs, because he is a twin and his brother tested positive for it. So we definitely needed to do testing before having children to see if I was also a carrier. Luckily, I was negative on everything and we were in the clear. It was so so helpful to have that information before we started our family.”
“We really appreciated knowing that we could move forward with starting our family with as much confidence as possible.”