Personal Stories

Personal Stories2022-04-19T15:50:50+00:00

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.

Elisha’s Story (Video)

Elisha learned she had a BRCA1 mutation after her mother’s ovarian cancer diagnosis. She undergoes regular screenings and chose preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to prevent the BRCA mutation from being passed to her children. Watch Elisha's story.

Heidi’s Story (Video)

Heidi learned she had a BRCA1 mutation through a 23&Me test, even though she did not know about any family history of cancer. After consulting with a genetic counselor, Heidi underwent preventative surgeries. Watch Heidi'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.

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.”

Planning for a family?

Our affordable, accessible carrier screening program allows most participants to get screened from home.

Genetic disorder screening

Concerned about cancer risk?

We offer guidance on hereditary cancer risk assessments, and information about where to get counseling and screening.

Hereditary cancer risk assessment
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