Pierce Brosnan has lost his daughter Charlotte at the age of 41 after losing his first wife (her mother) to the same disease when she was just 44. Both women died of ovarian cancer, the implication being that Charlotte, the mother of two young kids, ages 15 and 8, inherited the disease from her mother.
My heart just absolutely breaks for this family. As someone who lost her own mother young, I am sure the last thing Charlotte wanted to do was leave her babies behind without their mother. And as someone who ALSO lost their mother as a teen, I have some idea of what her oldest child will feel.
For anyone who loses their mother young, dying of the same disease that killed her is one of our biggest fears. It's the reason Angelina Jolie got gene tested. It's the reason I got gene tested, too.
It's unclear from the news whether or not Charlotte was tested for the BRCA mutation. It's the mutation that kills so many young women with aggressive breast or ovarian cancer. But it isn't the only way women get these diseases. It IS possible to get tested and still die of those diseases. But it's less likely.
The very same mechanism that gives you your mother's eyes and her high cheekbones can also give you the same disease that killed her.
I can't imagine that Charlotte never thought about it. Like anyone who watched someone die of one of those diseases early in life, it haunts you. It has to become one of our biggest fears. It's a club no one wants to join and we all fear our membership dues will be our life.
Reading stories like these breaks my heart. For the longest time, I assumed my life was over at 45, the same as my mom's, and for most of that time, that age seemed old. But now I am 35, it's 10 years away, and it doesn't seem so old at all.
I know I don't carry the BRCA gene. But I also know it's not the only way to die. Still, at least it won't be that mutation, that gene, that does it.
Ovarian cancer and breast cancer are terrible diseases that take the lives of women too young and with brutal force. Not knowing more about their situation, I can only hope that Brosnan's teenage granddaughter doesn't carry the gene and, if she does, that she has the time to take preventative measures to stop it.
Someone needs to stop this legacy of sadness. My heart goes out to the entire Brosnan family.
Would you ever get tested for the BRCA gene?
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