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BRCA Gene Testing-Based Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Keynote Speaker, Advocate, Advisor and 'Previvor' Launches 'BRCA Believer' Brand Inspired by Personal Experience

BRCA Gene Testing-Related Motivational Speaker and Mentor Develops Shirt and Merchandise Line to Generate Sustained Awareness and Support for the Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer 'Previvor' Community and BRCA Genetic Testing at Large; Uplifting 'BRCA

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwired - July 22, 2014) - BRCA gene testing-based breast cancer and ovarian cancer keynote speaker, advocate, advisor and "previvor," Merilee Kern, today announced the launch of the "BRCA Believer" shirt and merchandise line (www.BRCABeliever.com) intended to generate sustained awareness and support for the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer community and BRCA genetic testing at large. As a BRCA-positive woman who has made life-altering choices in relation-now availing herself as a motivational speaker and advisor to share her powerful first-person experiences and insights with others-Kern developed the BRCA Believer line in an effort to inspire, uplift and empower others who are hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer survivors or, like herself, are high-risk "previvors" -- a "survivor of a genetic predisposition to cancer."

"The mission of the BRCA Believer line is to raise awareness about the availability of, and accessibility to, genetic testing as it relates to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, about the implications of being BRCA gene positive, about the extraordinary power of choice that accompanies a BRCA positive diagnosis, and the importance of celebrating and uplifting those who have made brave, difficult decisions in relation," notes Kern. "Far too many of those who have taken heroic and life-changing measures relating to a BRCA-positive status do so in relative privacy and seclusion, never benefitting from the level recognition and praise they deserve amid a circumstance few understand. Through the BRCA Believer line, I hope to enrich the BRCA-positive community with an overarching sense of pride and achievement while simultaneously educating and raising social consciousness regarding the significance, availability and implications of genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer."

"While breast and ovarian cancer awareness apparel and merchandise abounds in the marketplace, this novel line meets an advocacy need specific to individuals and families impacted by a genetic predisposition to these conditions," Kern continues "This line is intended to unify, encourage and amuse those affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, either as a high-risk 'previvor' or as a 'SurThriver' of an actual diagnosis. I also hope the messages imparted in the BRCA Believer designs, including 'Living Lucky,' 'Destiny by Decision,' 'Alive by Choice Not Chance,' 'BRCA Hero,' 'Previvor Pride' and 'Team Angie' in support of Angelina Jolie's BRCA-related life choices and championing, will help spur general dialogue about the availability and enormity of the genetic testing opportunity so more people will benefit from the 'gift of knowledge' this life-saving science brings."

"We eagerly donated time and resources to create exclusive flagship 'BRCA Believer' designs, including the brand's core logo, given the intention of this line to help drive awareness regarding options individuals have for fighting and even thwarting hereditary breast and ovarian cancer," said Neil Hoynes, CEO of Ripple Junction -- one of the largest and most successful purveyors of licensed entertainment and pop culture apparel in the world. "We applaud Merilee Kern's efforts, as the founder of this line, to leverage fashion and style as a way to drive greater visibility for the multitude of life-preserving measures available with respect to these inherited gene-based cancers."

The BRCA Believer online store offers stylish women's, men's and children's shirts, tank tops and hoodies, mugs, cards, wall decals, magnets and other items that feature unique and inspirational designs, with a portion of the proceeds donated to nonprofit organization(s) dedicated to fighting hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. All designs are available in breast cancer pink, ovarian cancer teal, cancer lavender or basic black. Shoppers first pick the desired design/message from those available to then view available color and product options for purchase. The flagship BRCA Believer line features the following designs/messages:

• Alive by Choice Not Chance

• Destiny by Decision

• Knowledge is Power

• Living Lucky

• Choice = Chance

• BRCA Hero

• My Mom is a BRCA Hero (youth and adult items)

• My Wife is a BRCA Hero (men's items)

• My Sister is a BRCA Hero

• Proud Previvor (for those BRCA+)

• Previvor Pride (for those BRCA+ or anyone who wants to support someone BRCA+)

• Team Angie (supporting Angelina Jolie for her BRCA-related personal & professional efforts)

• BRCA Believer

About Merilee Kern, BRCA Keynote Speaker and Patient Advisor

Downtime and indecisiveness are words that are not in Merilee Kern's vocabulary. This 21st Century soccer mom owns and operates a thriving communications agency, founded and serves as Executive Editor for an internationally syndicated lifestyle brand, is a regularly featured television personality, and her prior accomplishments run the gamut from earning her MBA degree by age 23; to authoring an award-winning, first-of-its-kind obesity-related children's book and APP; to winning multiple bodybuilding championships -- a hardened fitness regimen this maven maintains even today. All of this as her two tween and teenage children thrive as straight A honor roll students and extracurricular sports MVPs. Merilee is, in fact, the very definition of a renaissance woman: a savvy entrepreneur, media personality, author, journalist, publicist, athlete, health advocate, and proud single mother. 

She is also BRCA1 positive, putting her at a sharply increased, near guaranteed risk of developing breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer in her lifetime.

When Merilee was unexpectedly given what she now calls "the gift of knowledge" that she carried the "faulty" BRCA1 gene, making a breast and/or ovarian cancer diagnosis in her future more likely than not, she was faced with a litany of excruciating decisions that would ultimately change -- and give -- her life. As Angelina Jolie and other brave and resilient cancer-free women have chosen to do, Merilee opted to take preventive action and have a prophylactic double mastectomy in addition to a bilateral oophorectomy and hysterectomy to take her near certain risk of developing one or both cancers down to almost zero. Merilee asserts, "It was the hardest decision that couldn't have been easier to make."

At a time of her life when Merilee was "in the thick" of a contentious 3-year long divorce battle; navigating the awkward and insecure waters of being an "admittedly vain" single woman re-entering the dating scene; managing multiple professional interests now as the sole breadwinner in her home; keeping her children's lofty academic standards and extracurricular activity schedule "on course"; and as her own mother who lived 3,000 miles away from her was bravely fighting a BRCA-related cancer of her own that ultimately claimed her life, Merilee dove head first into surgical intervention that, although it significantly altered her body, has uplifted her spirit and has given her strength in so many unexpected ways. And, what a long strange trip it's been.

Merilee now avails herself as a keynote speaker and patient advisor/mentor to share her story, which is rife with ups, downs and ridiculousness, with other women and men to provide insight into what goes into making a decision of this nature and caliber, what's involved in the process when choosing this surgical course (whether as proactive/preventative or a reactive measure to cancer), and how incredible the final physical result can be. She also seeks to uplift and inspire both women and men who face their own difficulties and challenges, health-related an otherwise, even when multiple adversities present at once -- and how to dig deep to tap their inner well of strength, resolve, and tenacity needed to stay the course... and come out on the other side better than ever.

A serial SurThriver, Merilee's triumphant story inspires BRCA positive women facing the realities of hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer, even before a diagnosis, as well as all other men and women seeking to triumph over adversity and turn chaos into clarity!

Editors and journalists, Meeting planners, conference and event planners, fellow previvors and others can learn more about Merilee's motivational speaking and private advisor consultation work online at www.MerileeKern.com. Browse the BRCA Believer online store at www.BRCABeliever.com.

* http://www.facingourrisk.org/FORCE_community/previvors.php 

Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2014/7/22/11G018758/Images/BRCA_image-289438569700.jpg

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Karen Hayhurst
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