BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) - Susan Shapiro is a survivor, but her twin daughters are who you'd call "previvors".
"It started with my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2010," said Cari Kutno. "Then, she wound up getting tested for the BRCA gene. So from there, we decided, since there was a history with my mom being positive with BRCA II, that we decided to get tested ourselves. I got tested first, Dani got tested second, and we were both BRCA II positive."
That meant, as carriers, Cari and Dani had an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer and a 44 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer.
Not wanting to live in fear, "We went ahead and both had double mastectomies. We shared the same hospital room."
They also had complete hysterectomies. This all while their mother endured chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries. "My children are my heroes," said Susan.
The three men in their lives were all supportive as they faced losing their breasts and opportunity to have more children. "I told her she had to look at the boys," said Andrew Kutno, Cari's husband. "We have two sons, and if she didn't do this, she probably wouldn't be around to see them grow up. "
Now, as a family, they are spreading the word through Boca Raton's Think Pink Rocks. Every year the non-profit organization holds a fundraiser concert featuring Flo Rida, Iyaz, Mann and DJ Cassidy. This year's concert is Saturday, November 5 at Mizner Park.
About Think Pink Rocks
In 2004, at age 36, Stephanie Robin, a Boca Raton mother of two small children, was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. She tested positive for the Breast Cancer Gene (BRCA) and underwent a double mastectomy with reconstruction, a total hysterectomy and months of chemotherapy. The cancer returned to her lungs and is stage IV; she is receiving monthly treatment at Memorial Sloan- Kettering and the tumors have decreased in size by 90 percent.
She and her friends Elizabeth Weprin, Kathy Fleishman and Amy Seidman established Think Pink Rocks. Working with Steve Rifkind, Chairman of SRC Records/Universal, and producer Kelley Lee, this is the fourth year they have organized the Think Pink Rocks concert to advocate for early detection of breast cancer, raise awareness of the BRCA gene for breast and ovarian cancer, and raise funds for breast cancer research charities. For more information please visit http://www.thinkpinkrocks.com/.