Join us for a virtual discussion and showcase of short films describing real stories of real people with BRCA mutations—hereditary genetic changes that can cause cancer. Genetic counselor Shelly Weiss McQuaid, filmmaker Rachel Pikelny, and Sivan Schondorf—one of the film subjects—will join for live discussion and Q&A. This event is presented in partnership with the Northbrook Public Library and the Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics.
Tuesday, March 2
3pm EST | 2pm CST | Noon PST
Register in advance for this meeting.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Shelly Weiss McQuaid, MS, CGC, is a board-certified genetic counselor. Shelly received her MS in Genetic Counseling from Northwestern University in 2009. Shelly has diverse experience spanning adult clinical genetics, industry, pediatric cancer genetics, laboratory stewardship and advocacy. She joined Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in 2016 and is a founding member of the hospital’s Cancer Predisposition Program which identifies and manages patients and families at high risk of cancer and other health conditions. In her role, she also leads precision medicine research efforts. Shelly is a clinical instructor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She is core faculty for the Northwestern Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling and is on the board of directors for the Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics and the Illinois Society of Genetic Professionals. Shelly is originally from the Northwest suburbs and currently resides on the North Side of Chicago with her husband and daughter. She is honored to have been collaborating with the Sarnoff Center for the past 15 years.
Rachel Pikelny is an Emmy Award-winning documentary producer whose films have earned accolades and sparked impact, at venues ranging from the Tribeca Film Festival to Capitol Hill. Her work has been presented on PBS, CNBC, A&E, Condé Nast Entertainment, and in arthouse cinemas worldwide. Through her production company, Nyla Pictures, she also creates social impact-focused videos for corporations and nonprofits. She is a breast cancer survivor, mother of two, and resident of Oak Park.
Sivan Schondorf, MA, CCC-SLP, believes understanding hereditary cancer risks is a key tool to empower families to protect their health. In 2000, Sivan’s aunt passed away from an aggressive breast cancer caused by a BRCA gene mutation—these mutations affect one in 40 people of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. After genetic testing, Sivan found out that she, her mother, and several other family members had a high risk for cancer as well. Armed with that information, Sivan decided to undergo risk-reducing surgery — and became a passionate advocate for genetic counseling and BRCA awareness. As a volunteer area coordinator for Chicago FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Sivan runs local support groups, community activities, and fundraising events to help empower others to be proactive about their health and shed light on this important cause. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics. In her professional time, Sivan is a speech language pathologist and director of a therapeutic contracting company. Her most important role, however, is serving as a mother of three.
Presented in partnership with the Northbrook Public Library and the Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics.