IN TRIBUTE TO TEAM COURAGE - THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING GENES
Through extensive family tree research and genetic counseling, the seven children of Sam and Audrey Wetzel, one by one were genetically tested for Lynch Syndrome following the death of their mother, Audrey, who passed away, March 7, 1991, of colorectal cancer.
Three children were diagnosed, Stephanie Wetzel-Toole, Marlene Wetzel-Bloomfield and Gerri Wetzel-Schoutko who are now undergoing a journey of embracing life. Together, with family and friends, they created a family organization...The Sisterhood of the Traveling Genes, to create public awareness and is supporting LSI.
Their journey continues….with 19 children, between Stephanie(7), Marlene(7), and Gerri(5), they now face the task of having each of the children genetically tested, praying they flipped the coin heads up and did not inherit Lynch Syndrome.
It is a journey to be proactive…..in Aug. 2012 Marlene Wetzel-Bloomfield had a complete hysterectomy followed by Stephanie Wetzel-Toole who had her complete hysterectomy in Dec. 2012. Having this surgery Stephanie and Marlene removed a huge part of the risk of developing endometrial cancer. With all pathology reports clear for Marlene and Stephanie they both breathed a sigh of relief.
A journey that has thankfully had all three sisters getting colonoscopies proactively for 15 years. Knowing their mother died so young and so fast, we wanted honor her memory and be proactive in their health.
Stephanie and Marlene’s journey is not over. To remain cancer free they will have to be vigilant with our health and stay on top of our wellness with yearly screenings.
A journey that led their family to find out Gerri Wetzel- Schoutko, who in Jan. 2012 became the seventh family member to be diagnosed with cancer. At age 44, nine years after her first cancer diagnosis, Gerri was diagnosed with a second cancer, Endometrial Cancer.
A journey that has recently shown the cancer, malignant thymoma, that Gerri was diagnosed with nine years ago at age 36 has reoccurred.
And, finally, a journey which lead them to step out of themselves and into the world to promote public awareness for others and to live outside themselves...in honor of them...and of their family which is standing behind one another and helping others.
Beth Darmstadter, honoring Marlene Wetzel-Bloomfield, Elizabeth O'Brien in the name of Stephanie Wetzel-Toole
Glenn Brown, Emily M. Adkins in the name of Stephanie Toole, Cindy McClain, Teresa and Joel Andreani in the name of Stephanie Wetzel Toole
Anthony LaCerva, Jennifer Lybarger, Alan Chonco, Elaine Breiner in the name of Team Courage and Stephanie Wetzel Toole
Jessica Kaminski, Anna P. Schoutko in honor of Gerri Wetzel Schoutko, Jeremiah and Diane M. Dunleavy
D.C. and Paula Thompson, Timothy and Mimi R. Burke, Ellen Breiner in honor of Stephanie Wetzel-Toole
Debbie Donofrio in honor of Stephanie Wetzel-Toole, Timothy Murnane in honor of Stephanie Wetzel-Toole, Jesse Sawyer
Linda Carter, Brenda Budzar, Sandra Maggio, Mary Ellen Volpe, Daniel Jones