“I knew there was a reason I survived, and I hope my story will be a beacon of hope for cancer victims and their families around the world.”
— Annie Parker
After losing both her mother and sister to cancer, Anne Parker innately believed that there was a hereditary link in certain cancers and that one day, she would get cancer too. Doctors told Anne it was “just bad luck” but she refused to believe them. In 1980, Anne developed breast cancer and had a mastectomy; she went on to endure two more battles with cancer.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mary-Claire King, a geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley, was researching the genetic roots of the disease, and discovered the gene that is responsible for many breast and ovarian cancers: BRCA1. Her discovery was revolutionary, and we now know that as many as 5 to 10% of all breast cancers may be hereditary.
In 1994, Toronto’s Anne Parker became one of the first women in Canada to be tested for the BRCA1 gene mutation. Her results were positive for the deadly gene. Annie’s story and that of Dr. Mary-Claire King, inspired Hollywood film-maker Steve Bernstein to write and direct the feature film, Decoding Annie Parker, a multi-award-winning film starring Samantha Morton, Helen Hunt and Aaron Paul.
Anne continues to spread her story to audiences across North America as a a keynote speaker at various conferences, communities and events. She has gained respect from the medical community, sufferers and survivors with her brave story, sincere nature and powerful message of hope. In her book, Annie Parker Decoded, she tells her story using facts, hard truths and humour. It has served as a coping mechanism for many cancer-sufferers and continues to inspire hope among women worldwide.