Thank you for taking the time to visit our website to learn more about the BRCA37 Project. This project is a breast cancer inspirational album written and performed by Iris and Ilynnette.
Let's start by talking about what BRCA means. BRCA is an acronym for "Breast Cancer" and it is primarily used when speaking of genetic cancer mutation genes. BRCA genetic cancer mutation is hereditary and increases a woman's chances of developing breast cancer in her lifetime by 87%. Males who carry the BRCA gene have a 6% chance of developing breast cancer along with other types of cancer. Amongst many types of cancer and breast cancer testing, there is testing available for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation genes. Ironically, a positive result for the BRCA 1 or 2 mutation gene is rare and highly unlikely.
Unfortunately, Iris tested positive for the BRCA2 mutation gene in January of 2008. Because she tested positive for the gene at 37 years of age, it only seemed right to name the album BRCA37 (Breast Cancer at age 37).
Iris was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer on January 9, 2008. Of course it was devastating for her and she and her family were in shock. She had not one, but two growths in her right breast. The doctor was optimistic that the largest growth was connected to the smaller of the two. However, after further examinations, they found that they were two separate growths which prompted the doctor to believe that she may have had cancer growing breast tissue. The doctor felt Iris would be a good candidate for BRCA testing since there was a significant history of cancer on her father's side.
After Iris was diagnosed with the BRCA2 mutation gene, her treatment recommendations changed drastically. Instead of having a lumpectomy, it was suggested that she have a bi-lateral mastectomy and an oophorectomy because the breast and ovary tissue are similar in makeup.
Iris had six rounds of chemotherapy and 3 months of daily radiation treatment. While going through her treatment, she searched high and low for music that would encourage her and speak to the issues that she was dealing with like: "how will I live without breast," "what will my husband think of me," "will I live to raise my son," and "how much time do I have left." She was able to find a few songs that were considered "breast cancer" songs, but unfortunately, the music did not help in navigating her journey.
On one of her lowest days, Iris was extremely sick and physically tired. Her husband was taking care of her and he could see that she was nearly broken. He asked her if she wanted to live. Her response was "of course I want to live." He said, then you have to say, I am gonna live, and you have to do everything in your power to be strong and stop the negative thinking. His encouragement came across rather harsh, but it gave her something to think about. Living was a choice that she had to make until God said different. Iris wrote her first song, "When You" that day. This song is about her husband, her rock. It was revealed to her later that she needed to help in the fight against breast cancer and that she could do it through writing and recording songs that spoke directly to women and families who were in the fight against breast cancer. She asked her youngest sister Ilynnette to help her with this project and she obliged.
They are "The I's Have It" and this is how the BRCA37 Project was born. The hope is that you will support Iris and Ilynnette in getting this work out to the masses of people dealing with breast cancer.
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