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Two sisters unite to K.I.C.K. cancer, launch non-profit to help fund genetic testing

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Posted at 6:54 PM, Jun 13, 2023

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — Colleen Greller and Katie Hernandez have been by each other’s side their entire lives.

“We’re just so lucky in so many, so many ways,” said Greller.

But the two sisters share a bond beyond sisterhood. They are both cancer survivors.

A routine mammogram found three irregular spots; a biopsy revealed Hernandez had Stage 0 breast cancer.

“My brilliant surgeon here in Maryland recognized the importance of genetic testing based on my history of my paternal aunt dying of ovarian cancer at a young age,” said Hernandez.

The day before her little sister’s wedding, she got the phone call she was positive for the BRCA1 genetic mutation. She soon underwent surgery to rid her body of cancer and reduce her risk of developing ovarian cancer, which was in December 2017.

Greller knew that she, too, needed to get tested, so just months after having her baby boy, she did. Greller, too carried the genetic mutation. She elected for a preventative hysterectomy. Two weeks later, she was back for a follow-up with the doctor.

“This was March 17 of 2020, and as you know, the world now had really shut down,” explained Greller, and her world changed in an instant. The pathology report showed Greller had stage one ovarian cancer.

Greller completed three rounds of chemotherapy and underwent a preventive double mastectomy.

“My life was saved because of this testing. My sister’s life was saved because of this testing,” explained Greller.

“We are the two luckiest people on the planet. We were both diagnosed with early-onset cancer that was highly treatable. The only reason any of this happened the way it did was because of genetic testing. We have got to do more,” said Hernandez.

So, they did. The two sisters launched the non-profit K.I.C.K., Knowledge Is Cancer’s Kryptonite.

The non-profit focuses on raising awareness about early detection, genetic testing, and funding for women and men.

“Still, there’s a myth that it can run only run on your mom’s side, but no, it’s both sides. Your mom or your dad can carry this,” said Greller.

Since its inception a little more than two years ago, K.I.C.K. has funded testing for 250 people in 48 states and three countries. The testing covers dozens of genetic mutations.

Two sisters united and committed to K.I.C.K cancer.

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