Benjamin Preston & Brandi Preston
Kamie K Preston Hereditary Cancer Foundation
Helping Patients Become Proactive
Benjamin and Brandi Preston’s mother had one final wish for her children before she passed away from breast cancer: “To be proactive rather than reactive.” It is a message they took to heart as they launched the Kamie K Preston Hereditary Cancer Foundation to help patients learn if they are at genetic risk for cancer. It is a process Benjamin and Brandi are familiar with as both tested positive for the same BRCA1 mutation responsible for their mother’s cancer.
In January 2014, Brandi decided to undergo a prophylactic, bilateral, nipple-sparing mastectomy with expanders. But Brandi wanted to help other young women in her shoes, so just two and a half months after her bilateral mastectomy, she became Omaha’s Outreach Ambassador for the national nonprofit, Bright Pink.
Even though Brandi continues to serve in her position with Bright Pink, she started to wonder if she could do more. After all, Bright Pink’s mission is to support women 18-45 at risk for breast and ovarian cancers and as Brandi says, “cancer does not discriminate by age, gender or body part.” For instance, her brother is also positive for the BRCA1 mutation. What organizations were available to help young men like him? That is when they decided to start a cancer foundation in their mother’s name to help anyone who might be at risk for cancer.
In its first year, the foundation raised more than $25,000 through grant applications and fundraising events. And the foundation has aided 69 patients with support services in 16 states and Canada. Of those, 12 were assisted with access to testing, six patients tested positive, three were VUS (variant of uncertain significance), two negative, and one is still pending results.
Both siblings are also being proactive outside the foundation. Benjamin started at Publicis Healthcare Communications Group as the Global Communications Associate when he was 21, and in his roughly two years in the position he has increased followers on all Publicis Health’s channels by an average of 30%. Brandi works for Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert in the role of Assistant Communications Director and is also a patient speaker for Myriad Genetic Laboratories.