BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce tumor suppressor proteins. These proteins help repair damaged DNA and, therefore, play a role in ensuring the stability of the cell's genetic material. When either of these genes is mutated, or altered, such that its protein product is not made or does not function correctly, DNA damage may not be repaired properly. As a result, cells are more likely to develop additional genetic alterations that can lead to cancer.
Sign up for the Bertrand-BRCA Foundation newsletter to better educate yourself and loved ones about the impact of the BRCA gene. You will get information on genetic testing and what it can tell you, when testing is recommended, what kind of testing is available, how are the test results used, and what can I/my family do to decrease cancer risk if gene alternation is identified.
Founding Members of the Bertrand-BRCA Foundation:
Ron Martin has been a respected leader in the sewing machine industry for 40+ years. Is founder, CEO and current president of Sewing Machines Plus. In partnership with his sons Chris and Cory, they have grown their company into the largest retail resource of sewing product in the U.S.
At his side for 42 years, his late wife Debra (née Bertrand), mother to Chris and Cory Martin, participated in the development and growth of this business. Debra's untimely death, caused by the BRCA1 cancer gene mutation, has invigorated Ron and the surviving family members to create the Bertrand Foundation, stressing the importance of education and availability of genetic testing to the global community.
Ron is keeping the memory of his late wife Debra and the Bertrand family alive through this foundation; educating as many people as possible in the process.
Nicholas J. Yphantides, MD, MPH
Dr. Nick Yphantides is an advocate for those in his community who need it the most. He currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer of San Diego County and its 3.2 million residents (1% of America's population). He is the Founding Co-Chair of San Diego's Childhood Obesity Initiative, was the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of one of the largest network of Community Clinics in San Diego County, the CMO of the Council of Community Clinics and the publicly elected Chairman of the Board for Palomar Health, the largest Public Hospital District in California.
In addition to his significant professional career, Dr. Nick is the author of My Big Fat Greek Diet which describes his personal wellness journey and focus. Fourteen years ago, Dr. Nick temporarily retired from all of his job commitments to go on a personal adventure and focus on his own personal health needs. Over the course of a year he drove 38,000 miles, visited every state, and transformed his personal health by losing 270 pounds without surgery! He accomplished this amazing feat by truly changing his life. He is now passionate about giving hope, inspiration and encouragement to individuals and institutions in need of making positive changes. His life story has been featured in People Magazine, Reader's Digest, Washington Post, New York Times, and on CNN, Fox News, Focus on the Family and even in the National Enquirer! Dr. Nick is a cancer survivor and has been to as many countries as he is old. His daughters Veronique and Zoe are the joy of his life and they make their home in Escondido, California.
Marguerite McMillan Jackson, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN
Marguerite Jackson was affiliated with the University of California San Diego for almost 33 years before her retirement in 2010. She was Administrative Director of the Epidemiology Unit for most of her UCSD career. After obtaining her PhD in 1995, she became Director of the Department of Education, Development, and Research for UCSD Healthcare, and subsequently spent over six years as Director of the Administrative Unit for the National Tuberculosis Curriculum Consortium (NTCC), a multi-center NIH-funded collaborative project.
In recognition of her contributions to the nursing profession, she was elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Nursing in 1991 and served as the Nursing-at-Large representative to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' Standards and Survey Procedures Committee for several years. Marguerite is a breast cancer survivor and had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed a few years ago due to an abnormal finding on ultrasound that was not cancer. After genetic counseling and careful review of her family history with the counselor, she and her husband agreed it was highly unlikely she was a carrier of a BRCA genetic mutation and did not pursue further testing. Marguerite was a close personal friend of Debra Martin and can speak to BRCA testing issues from a personal perspective.
Chris Martin, oldest son of Ron and Debra Martin, is a co-founder and Executive Vice President of Sewing Machines Plus.
Before Chris became the business man he is today, his first love was in the world of body building. Chris' dedication and passion for the process of body building led him to win several national competitions. Chris carried that hard work and perseverance and channeled it into building the most successful sewing website in the world, sewingmachinesplus.com. The website has become an integral part of Sewing Machines Plus. It has also expanded into other web stores gaining national and international notoriety.
After his mother, Debra lost her battle with cancer in 2013, Chris, and surviving family members, became motivated to help others in dedication to the memory of their mother and other family members who lost similar battles.
Chris hopes that through the development of this foundation, lives may be saved in the memory of those he lost close to him. As a father, Chris knows genetic testing will be the best way to protect his children and prepare them for their future. He wants the Bertrand Foundation to do the same for others.
He currently resides in Escondido, California with his wife Lisa and their three children Ava, Trevor, and Andre.
Cory Martin is the second son of Ron and Debra Martin.
Cory's business career blossomed early on, with various project endeavors including art, construction, and landscaping. Through these different experiences in the world of management he developed the qualities that embody his leadership skills of today. Currently, at Sewing Machines Plus, the now internationally known sewing company his father started 40 years ago, Cory plays an integral part in the continual growth of their business.
There he leads a team of 40 employees, representing and overseeing the daily operations of the business, on a detailed and intimate level.
Cory's personal achievements and kind demeanor will be a valuable asset to board members of the Bertrand Foundation.
Cory shares in his family's passion to make a difference in dedication to the memory of family he has lost, and to others who have gone through similar experiences around the world.
He is a Co-Founder and Executive Vice President at Sewing Machines Plus and currently resides in Escondido, California, a stone's throw from his dad and brother.
Francis Bertrand is the son of Rolland Bertrand, the recently deceased brother of Debra and Marcheline Bertrand. Born in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Francis grew up in a bilingual home with a passion in the arts. In 2000 Francis began his career as a portrait photographer and has since worked with the likes of Ricky Martin, Eva Longoria and Juanes.
Losing his father in 2009 to cancer and aunts in 2007 and 2013, Francis became inspired to become involved in educating himself more on BRCA, investing his creative energy into The Bertrand BRCA Foundation. Francis' desire is to inform the masses and to lend a voice to those affected by the gene mutation. Francis’ involvement with Para Todos Magazine and paratodos.com lends a Latino voice to our outreach efforts as we offer services to those affected by the BRCA gene.
James Haven was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. He is the older brother of actress Angelina Jolie and the nephew of singer-songwriter Chip Taylor.
After graduating Beverly Hills High School, James enrolled at the USC School of Cinema-Television. While at the university, he received a George Lucas Award for a student film he directed starring his sister. James has been credited as an actor and award-winning producer on several features and documentaries.
Since 2006, James has been the executive board director of Artivist, a festival in Los Angeles that highlights films addressing human rights, animal rights, and environmental issues. Most recently James founded the CoreCause Foundation. In an interview with www.eonline.com in 2013 James explained, "The fundamental belief of CoreCause is to focus on a preventative rather than recovery stand point. Most of the world’s crises are the effects of a 'core cause' that if addressed would solve the problem entirely."
James' experience, within the movie industry, being executive board director of a humanitarian focused film festival, as well as founder of a non-profit, brings a powerful influence to the Bertrand Foundation. In the wake of his mother's death from ovarian cancer on January 27, 2007 as well as the recent loss of his aunt Debra Martin in 2013, to his sister, Angelina’s double mastectomy and other family members affected by the BRCA gene mutation, James personally knows the pain that the BRCA gene mutation can cause and the importance of genetic testing.
He shares in the determination of the board members to educate the many who are unaware of such a disease and to provide for those who may be at risk and cannot get the testing and help they may need. His presence amongst the board will be greatly advantageous and beneficial to the future of many peoples' lives.
In keeping with his sister Angelina Jolie's legacy of service, James and Angelina are currently working on a film together called Court of Conscience. James is directing and Angelina is producing. The film is a huge priority for the siblings who want to make an impact on current laws about child advocacy and helping to change laws at a state and local level.
Scott Goodman opened his first retail store in 1976. The second location opened a year later. He successfully operates that business today. Actively involved in community affairs, he has chaired and chartered several mandated school councils and boards. His leadership helped found the Los Angeles chartered, North Hills West Neighborhood Council, serving as vice-president during two separate terms. Trained by the Coro Foundation in Leadership and Community Development, he leads through example and consensus building partnerships.
Scott has the ability to simplify and communicate complex concepts for lay people. Great Scott! is a featured writer for Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine and has been a guest speaker at local universities and colleges on entrepreneurship, marketing and advertising. He has been a consultant to Fortune 500 companies with excess inventory issues.
Scott Goodman is trained as an Emergency Medical Technician and is a sworn emergency first responder. He serves the Los Angeles Fire Department, carrying CERT Level III credentials. With the American Red Cross, he is credentialed as a Disaster Services Human Resource Worker. Scott's service to National Ski Patrol, includes recruitment and instructing patrollers in NSP’s Outdoor Emergency Care protocol. He is a ski patrol director at one of the busiest ski resorts in the country. Scott recently established a National Ski Patrol, Medical Associate program incorporating, training and credentialing emergency room physicians from Los Angeles County+USC Keck Medical Center, with emphasis in pre-hospital trauma care.
Scott's family was hit hard with a genetic defect similar to BRCA. A close friend of the Bertrand family for over 40 years, he sees the Bertrand BRCA Foundation as a vehicle to educate and direct others toward a positive outcome.