Val Skinner Foundation

2018 Heroes

2018 Heroes

Jennifer Merschdorf

Jennifer Merschdorf is the CEO of the Young Survival Coalition (YSC), the premier organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.

In 2010, both Jennifer and her mother were diagnosed with breast cancer. While undergoing treatment, she learned that YSC was looking for a new CEO that would energize and modernize the organization. With her background working for nonprofits and in the tech industry, Jennifer was the perfect candidate for the job.

Since then, Jennifer has merged traditional business strategy and large-scale nonprofit training with fresh and innovative thinking that utilizes new technologies to move YSC forward.

Jennifer and her husband Jeffrey Talley Gordon split their time between New York and the Hudson Valley. She is the proud parent of a 3.5 lb. Chihuahua rescue named Preston Maxwell Merschdorf…who also serves as the YSC mascot.

Marjorie Stromberg Miller

Marjorie Stromberg Miller is an incredible example of strength, love and perseverance. She was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 12 and with breast cancer at 26, just weeks after becoming engaged to her husband Sean.

Through genetic testing, it was discovered she has Li Fraumeni Syndrome, (LFS) is an inherited familial predisposition to a wide range of certain, often rare cancers. This is due to a change (mutation) in a tumor suppressor gene known as TP53. Simply put the carrier is 50% more likely to get other cancers. As a result, she has to have full body scans and MRI’s every year and blood work every four months.

Because she didn’t want to risk passing this gene on, she and Sean decided to attempt adoption. They were concerned they may not be able to adopt due to her cancer. However, within two weeks of submitting paperwork, they were selected by a birth mother, who had lost a friend to breast cancer and was moved by Marjorie’s strength and story. She and Sean are now the proud parents of Adele.

Today, in addition to her work as Writer/Editor for the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State, she assists with YSC’s Face 2 Face program. In this role, she speaks to cancer support groups and has dedicated her life to helping other young women with cancer.

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