This blog series will feature short bios from members of the Basser Young Leadership Council (YLC). The YLC is a dynamic group of young adults, all affected by a BRCA gene mutation. Together they lend support, engage with BRCA-related research, and host Basser Center YLC events and initiatives. We are excited to introduce you to some of our members and to share why they decided to join our community. 


Meet Your Basser Young Leadership Council Co-Chairs: Jenny Sorin and Erika Stallings

In 2018, Jenny learned that she carried a BRCA1 mutation. After watching her mother battle breast cancer not once--but twice--Jenny elected to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy followed by reconstruction. Since then, Jenny has been a dedicated member of the Basser Young Leadership Council and committed to raising money for BRCA-related research.

In July 2014 Erika learned that she carries a BRCA2 mutation and underwent a preventative mastectomy in December 2014 to lower her risk of developing breast cancer to less than five percent. Erika is passionate about the mission of the Basser Center and strives to educate other young women about hereditary cancer so that more individuals are empowered to be proactive about reducing their risk for breast and ovarian cancer.


1. Where do you live?

Jenny: I live in New York City.

Erika: I live in Jersey City, NJ.


2. What do you do for a living?

Jenny: I am the Director of Programs and Operations at a nonprofit organization.

Erika: I am the Senior Product Counsel at a video game/software development and publishing company.


3. Why did you join the YLC?

Jenny: BRCA mutation carriers have many difficult decisions to make regarding medical management, and they need a support system at every turn as it is impossible to be both a patient and your own advocate at the same time. I was diagnosed with a BRCA1 mutation at the age of 26. While this knowledge is significant and life-saving, it is a heavy burden for a young person to bear. The healing power of the most microscopic exchange with someone who knows in a flash precisely what you are talking about because she too has experienced the same thing is irreplaceable throughout this process. The support I received from the YLC served as a big motivator in going through with my initial surgery and subsequent reconstruction. Now, as a co-chair of the YLC, I am in a position to give back in the same way that so many women gave to me.

Erika: I helped to launch the YLC because I thought it was important for individuals in their 20s and 30s to have a forum for connecting with each other about the unique experiences of carrying a BRCA mutation and because I wanted to do something actionable by raising money to support cancer research.


4. What do you think is the most important thing to communicate about BRCA?

Jenny: There is no one size fits all solution for BRCA mutation carriers. The Basser Center has helped to accelerate the progress for BRCA-related cancer research at light speed over the past decade to empower patients with options. I remain optimistic as to how future generations will have to face this disease. Thanks to the Basser Center, the outlook for individuals with BRCA mutations and their families to have non-surgical options to live healthy, long lives is hopeful.

Erika: That there are ways to deal with having a mutation and that there’s also so much cutting-edge research being done in this area that will hopefully change the choices that future generations will have to make it when it comes to managing risk.


Think you or someone you love might carry a BRCA mutation?

Genetic counseling and testing is recommended for individuals whose family and personal health histories point to an increased chance of a cancer gene mutation. To learn if you may be a candidate for genetic testing, take the BRCA risk factor quiz.


How can I get involved in the Basser Young Leadership Council?

Learn more about the Young Leadership Council of the Basser Center for BRCA on our website. To learn about how to become involved with the YLC, please contact Carolyn Brown or call 215.573.0550.