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Genetic Information to Stop Breast and Ovarian Cancer Launches Two Websites
A young woman in the prime of her life who developed breast cancer due to a genetic predisposition to cancer desires to break the cycle of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer by raising one’s awareness of the benefits of genetic testing
While there are a multitude of web sites dedicated to educating the public about breast cancer, Genetic Information to Stop Breast and Ovarian Cancer is unique in its focus. Co-founders Lori and Bill Sklar wanted to focus on educating women about the benefits of genetic testing to ascertain their hereditary risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
They were personally motivated to create their non profit organization, Genetic Information to Stop Breast and Ovarian Cancer, because Lori developed breast cancer at the age of 47 as the result of a gene mutation. If she had known about her genetic predisposition, she would have taken positive measures to reduce her risk of breast and ovarian cancer. She underwent months of chemotherapy and surgeries to reduce the chance that the cancer would return. Unfortunately, she developed leukemia as the result of the chemotherapy. Both Bill and Lori Sklar recognize the sensitivity of the subject of genetic testing but Lori’s story is one that could have been avoided if someone had educated her about genetic testing and its benefits.
Through the development of two web sites Genetic Information to Stop Breast and Ovarian Cancer targets two different population groups of women across the globe. Reach Global (www.reachglobal.org) was created to educate the general population of the benefits of genetic testing to ascertain whether they carry the gene mutation which places them in a higher risk category for breast and ovarian cancer. Due to the high risk of genetic breast and ovarian cancer among Ashkenazi women, Jacob International (www.jacobintl.org) was created to target this niche of the population. Both web sites are supported by strong advisory boards consisting of well respected oncologists, geneticists, religious leaders, and businessmen and women.
Co-founders Bill and Lori Sklar are no strangers to helping others. Bill has served as an Adjunct Professor of the University of Miami School of Law in the Real Property Graduate Law Program for over 27 years and is Counsel to Edwards, Angell, Palmer and Dodge, a national law firm. He chaired Governor Jeb Bush’s Task Force on Homeowner’s Associations and was responsible for the drafting and passage of legislation providing consumer protection reforms for millions of Florida homeowners.
Lori has been the social action chair of Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, Florida for over a decade. She has joined efforts with Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church to feed over 1000 needy children and adults at Thanksgiving, established a food drive at her synagogue to benefit the Daily Bread Food Bank and Kosher Food Pantry, and started Mitzvah Day 14 years ago where over 600 congregants perform different acts of kindness in the community.
The mission of Jacob International and Reach Global is to educate women through brochures, videotapes, websites, and speaking engagements about genetic testing and its potential benefits. “Through our firsthand experience with failure of the medical community to advise Lori about genetic testing, we want others to avoid traveling the road that Lori has had to endure, says Bill Sklar, President and co-founder of Jacob International and Reach Global. “We are committed to educating women to get tested, reduce their risk and prolong their lives.”
For further information about its mission please visit, jacobintl.org and reachglobal.org or call 1-561-394-9100.
Lori or Bill Sklar
P.O. Box 880688
Boca Raton, Florida 33488
June 5, 2008 -Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education- Elkins Park, PA
Susan B. Stone, Director of Finance and Operations of Auberbach Central Agency for Jewish Education, invited Jacob International and Lori Singer White, PHD to educate their employees about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Lori Singer White, a regional specialist for Myriad Laboratories, used a power point presentation to explain one's hereditary risk of breast and ovarian cancer. She also shared her own personal story of her family's hereditary cancers and how she has medically handled her own risk for these diseases. Linda Kivitz and Debra Fishman, board members of JACOB, presented their sister's battle with hereditary breast cancer.
May 27-28 –Orlando, Florida – Florida Governor’s Women’s Healthcare Conference
On May 27‑28, 2008, JACOB and REACH participated in the Florida Governor’s Women’s Healthcare Conference in Orlando, Florida. This third annual conference sponsored by the Florida Department of Health presented comprehensive women’s healthcare issues. JACOB Int’l and REACH Global participated in educational programs for women of all ages concerning early detection, screening and genetic testing with appropriate genetic counseling regarding the early detection of breast and ovarian cancer. The Conference was attended by senior State health officials and leadership of most women’s healthcare delivery services throughout the State of Florida. This venue allowed JACOB Int’l and REACH Global to broaden the scope of its important message.
May 16-17, 2008- Tampa, Florida –Joining Forces Against Hereditary Cancers’ Third Annual Conference on Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer
On May 16-17, 2008, JACOB Int’l and REACH Global participated as an exhibitor and registrant at Joining Forces Against Hereditary Cancers’ Third Annual Conference on hereditary breast and ovarian cancer co‑sponsored with the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. The Conference brought together leading medical authorities on BRCA issues, including in‑depth discussion of preventive measures and the stories of previvors as well as survivors. Numerous leading authorities in the area of clinical genetics and BRCA issues included Dr. Noah D. Kauff and Dr. Judy Garber, both members of JACOB and REACH’s medical Advisory Board.
April 5, 2008- Whole Foods Market- Jenkintown, Pennsylvania Whole Foods Market in Jenkintown, Pa. hosted a Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Debra Fishman, board member of Jacob International and Reach Global, educated shoppers about their hereditary risk for breast and ovarian cancer. In addition, Susan Komen signed up participants for the Race for the Cure which is held every Mother's Day across the country. Jeanes Hosptial, affiliated with Temple University Medical System, had experts who provided information about mammography, self exams and other methods of detection.
March 28, 2008-Boca Raton, Florida- Pre-BRCA Testing Day
On March 28, 2008, JACOB Int’l sponsored its first genetic education pre‑BRCA testing day which was held at Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, Florida. The event was held at the Congregation where founder Lori Sklar was a leader, active Board member and, for almost 15 years, Chair of its social action programs. Dr. Melanie Bone, noted medical columnist in the Palm Beach Post, Board‑certified OB‑GYN and herself a BRCA‑positive survivor, provided education to invited members of the Congregation and their immediate families regarding the benefits of genetic testing and the importance of genetic counseling both pre- and post‑testing. As a result of this invitation‑only event, numerous invitees were subsequently tested and received counseling regarding the significance of their tests and family histories.
January 17, 2008 Beth Shalom Congregation in Elkins Park, Pa. hosted its second in a series of lectures on women's health issues, "Don't Ignore It, Don't Forget it" The program, "The Whisper of Ovarian Cancer", had an enthusiastic attendance despite a menacing snowstorm. Dr. Melanie Nordlinger, a Hematology/Oncology specialist on the staff of Abington Memorial Hospital/ Rosenfeld Cancer Center spoke on genetic pre-dispositions and risk factors related to Ovarian Cancer . Ms. Lynne Caplan shared her journey of Ovarian Cancer and her inspirational story of survival. Dr. Lori Singer White of Myriad Genetic Laboratories spoke of her own personal family history of the BRCA gene and educated women about the benefits of genetic testing. The speakers entertained questions from the audience relative to their family histories and genetic testing.
Debra Fishman, a board member of Jacob International, along with Dr. Lori Singer White of Myriad Labs distributed informational material from JACOB and Myriad about the benefits of genetic testing. The JACOB banner stood prominent with Jacob's message that its goal is to break the cycle of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
October 12, 2007 - Congregation B’nai Israel, Boca Raton, Florida hosted their second “Think Pink” bruncheon for 450 women to benefit both JACOB (Jews Against Cancer of the Breast) and the Center for Breast Care at Boca Raton Community Hospital. Stephanie Robin and and Elizabeth Weprin were co-chairs of the event this year and through their efforts raised over double the monies of the first "Think Pink" event. They hosted a silent auction and raffle and a shopping area which included many local vendors. Dr. Louise Morrell, a renowned oncologist, who is a member of our Advisory Board addressed the group. In addition, Stephanie Robin shared with the attendees her personal story of her courageous battle with breast cancer as a carrier of the BRCA mutation. JACOB INTL had a booth with brochures, videos and other informational materials to educate the women about the benefits of genetic testing.
May 30, 2007 Beth Shalom Congregation in Elkins Park, Pa. hosted its first in a series of lectures on women’s health issues, “Don’t Ignore It, Don’t Forget It.” Dr. Lisa Jablon, a member of the Jacob International and Reach Global advisory boards, lectured on the importance of certain “Jewish Genes” and which gene mutations demanded one’s attention. Melanie Corbman, a genetic counselor at Fox Chase Cancer Center, spoke about genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer among Ashkenazi Jewish women. Debra Fishman, a board member of Jacob International, in conjunction with Alicia Parlanti, a certified genetic counselor from Myriad Genetic Laboratories, distributed brochures and other informational materials to educate women about the benefits of genetic testing.
Hereditary Cancer Workshop (Washington, D.C.) - April 11, 2007
Jacob International participated in a round table discussion, "Hereditary Cancer" sponsored by The Society for Women's Health Research ( www.womenshealthresearch.org ). The Society for Women's Research is the nation's only not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health of women through research, education, and advocacy. The discussion focused on ways to educate both physicians and the public about risk assessment for hereditary cancers, genetic testing and counseling for women at high risk of developing hereditary cancers with a focus on breast and ovarian. The panel recognized the gap between the availability of testing for certain hereditary cancers and the awareness by the public and physician of this potentially life-saving intervention. The members of the panel included gynecologic physicians, genetic counselors, advocacy groups for women for high risk hereditary cancers, and breast surgeons.
Women District 13 Biennial – October 26 to 29, 2006,
Boca Raton, Florida. We were pleased to address approximately
300 women who are members of the Women of Reform Judaism
and many who serve as presidents of WRJ at their respective
synagogues. Betsy Dobrick, Advisory Board member, spoke
at the conference on October 29th. Her talk was titled, “G-d’s
Amazing Grace,” and she discussed the benefits of
genetic testing to stop hereditary breast and ovarian cancer
in Jewish Women.
May 26, 2006 - Co-founder Lori Sklar
spoke at Shabbat Services at Congregation B’nai Israel,
Boca Raton, Fla. Her talk was called G-d’s Amazing
Grace and discussed the benefits of genetic testing to stop
hereditary and breast cancer in Jewish women.
May 11, 2006 - Breast Cancer Action Group (BCAG) Symposium was held at Moonstruck Restaurant in Philadelphia, Pa. Dr. Rebecca Jaslow and Dr . Robert G. Somers, Director of the Breast Cancer Center in Albert Einstein Medical Center addressed the group. Dr. Debra Copit and Dr. Lisa Jablon , members of the JACOB INTL and REACH GLOBAL advisory boards, participated at the event. Three patients of these doctors who are now breast cancer survivors spoke on their experiences and admiration for the treatment protocol that was provided for them. Dr. Lori Jardines also played an important role in answering questions from the participants. Our own board member, Debra Fishman, addressed the group on the mission and goals of JACOB Intl and REACH Global. It was an evening full of positive energy and optimism from the entire group.
May 4, 2006 - Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Symposium on Thursday was held at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Thomas Building, Pelton Auditorium, 1100 Fairway Avenue N. Seattle, Washington.
The symposium explored the medical, physical, and psychological implications of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer. Special emphasis was placed on relevant screening and surgical risk-reduction strategies, ethical and legal implications, emotional and social considerations, and relevant research findings in relation to hereditary cancer genetics. The Keynote Speaker, Mary Claire King, PhD, University of Washington, addressed “Hereditary Cancer, Past, Present, and Future."
Ksenia Koon and Julie R. Gralow, M.D., coordinators of the Symposium, are Advisory Board members of Jacob International and Reach Global.
October 19, 2005 - Congregation B’nai
Israel, Boca Raton, Florida hosted a “Think
Pink” bruncheon for 350 women to benefit both JACOB
(Jews Against Cancer of the Breast) and the Susan G. Komen
Breast Cancer Foundation. Dr. Louise Morrell,
a renowned oncologist, who is a member of our Advisory Board addressed
the group. JACOB INTL had a booth with brochures,
videos and other informational materials to educate the women
about the benefits of genetic testing.
1. Jewish Journal – Ounce
of prevention – Couple educates about gene testing for
breast cancer, By Byran Blessey – July 25, 2006
2. Cure – Future
Risk for Survivors – Certain patients face greater possibility
for a second cancer, By Rabiya Ruma, Phd. – Summer
3. Hadassah – Boca
Sabra Chapter by Iyar Sivan – May, 2006
4. Sloan Kettering – Cancer-Reducing
Benefits of Preventive Surgery May Be Specific to Gene Mutation
– June 5, 2006