Nancy

Check Your Genes founder Nancy Romer encourages everyone to know their family history of cancer and seek genetic counseling if they are at risk.

Check Your Genes founder Nancy Romer was only 32 years old when she was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer. She knew she had a family history of breast cancer but had no idea it was hereditary, or that a simple blood test could tell her she carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. She had no idea that she, herself, would face a cancer diagnosis. An avid runner, she was now in the race for her life.

Over a six-year period, Nancy endured numerous treatments and therapies including high dose chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant (with her own stem cells), a bone marrow transplant and radio frequency ablation to a spot on her liver. Her first hip replacement was in 2007.

Knowing this ordeal could have been prevented, and to make sure other families didn’t have to face the same situation, Nancy and her family started Check Your Genes. They knew that together, we can fight hereditary cancer by preventing it from happening to others. Together, we can encourage everyone to know their family history of cancer and seek genetic counseling if they think they’re at risk.

Nancy passed away in December 2009. Her mission to educate the public lives on through the generous donations, sponsorships and events that raise awareness and the volunteers who make it all happen.

Please help us spread the word. Together, we can reach farther and let more people know that breast and ovarian cancer is hereditary but that it can be prevented from happening to our loved ones. Together, we CAN save lives!

We’ve come a long way since genetic testing became available in 1996.


Judy M. West (mother of Check Your Genes founders Nancy and Jim) died of breast cancer in 1991 at age 49. While in her early 40’s, she found a lump on her breast and immediately pursued medical attention.

She opted for a mastectomy, and no further treatment options were suggested to her because her lymph node biopsies came back negative. Her sister also had breast cancer in her late 20’s and colon cancer in her late 50’s, which she battled until it took her life.

Genetic testing was not available at the time of Judy’s death, but became available in 1996. Knowing about the genetic link between breast and ovarian cancer, when a strong family history exists, could have made a difference in her daughter Nancy’s life.

We couldn’t do all that we do without our volunteers. They are the pulse and soul of our organization and make big things happen every day. Our gratitude and thanks go out to the dedicated volunteers who make up our Board of Directors, Medical Advisory Board and Advisory Board.

Board of Directors

James M. West, Esq. – President
David Coppage
Karen Huelsman
Maura Schilling
Rebecca Sisson
Justine Snyder
Tracy Thompson-Lang
Sally Zdolshek

Medical Advisory Board

Jack Basil, M.D., FACOG, FACS
Lisa Larkin, M.D.
Elyse E. Lower, M.D.
J. Michael Guenther, M.D., FACS
Tracey Kuntz, M.D., FACOG
Karen Huelsman, M.S., Certified Genetic Counselor, Good Samaritan Hospital, Bethesda North Hospital
Sara Knapke, M.S., Certified Genetic Counselor, Gene DX
Rebecca Sisson, M.S., Certified Genetic Counselor, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Justine Snyder, M.S., Certified Genetic Counselor, St. Elizabeth Healthcare
Kristin Theobald, M.S., Certified Genetic Counselor, Gene DX
Tracy Thompson-Lang, R.N.
Denise Walsburger, R.N.

Advisory Board

Julie Darpel
Jenny Eubank
Paula Harrison
Hugh Henry
Lisa Larkin
Amy Mayer
Courtney Obermeyer
Jeff Obermeyer
Jennifer Panepinto
Aaron J. Romer
Kirsten Schneider
Amy Schult
Alice Sparks
Lori Tenhundfeld
Jody Wallace
Denise Walsburger
Karen Westdorp

Check Your Genes is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity © 2015-2017