It’s Time for Our Invisible Genes to Be Seen

When writer Suzanne Zuppello isn’t on enviable assignments in Montauk, she’s working to save women’s lives.

When I’m upset or frustrated, angry or excited, or just idle, I turn to food. It’s always provided a comfort. But food cannot always fill me in the way I need. Two years ago, my world changed. As I quit my job in restaurant operations and began my new career as a writer, I also underwent a preventative double mastectomy after learning I had the BRCA genetic mutation. This mutation dramatically increased my chances of developing breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and other cancers over my lifetime. It also widened the void I needed to fill. Upon hearing this news, I immediately felt alone and my friend in food was not enough.

So, I wrote about it. I wrote not just for myself but for women like me who felt alone. Sharing my experience brought me to Southdown Coffee in Huntington where I met new friends with whom I shared this genetic mutation; it lead me to margarita-filled dinners with other women struggling with the decision of surgery; and it lead me to the Basser Center for BRCA, which is the first organization I found that was dedicated to researching this gene with the hope of saving women like me from making the choice to part with their breasts, ovaries, and more.

Despite quitting my job working in restaurants, I couldn’t stay away from making people happy with food and drink. I joined the Basser Center’s Young Leadership Council as their event chair, where, along with a team of tough and talented women, we’ve planned a Night Out With the YLC in celebration of our #InvisibleGenes. The night is slated to be my favorite kind: One in which we can bond with old and new friends over bountiful snacks, in a space that provides the comforts of home. We’ll dance, we’ll win raffles, we’ll hear from Basser honoree Alejandra Campoverdi and Executive Director Dr. Susan Domchek.

Thankfully, others in the food and drink family understand the importance of a filling meal and balanced drink to steady their troubles. The Basser Center’s YLC has partnered with friends at The Good Batch, Montauk Brewing Company, Relish Caterers, and more to celebrate these genes we share and anyone who enjoys the warm embrace of food and friends. Taking place on November 9 between 6 and 9 pm at the Jonathan Adler Showroom, 715 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY.

Tickets and sponsorships are available here: