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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)February 25, 2003

(Mahwah) – Author and DES educator Margaret Braun will give a talk, DES Stories: The Power of Personal Stories to Heal and Change the World,” at Ramapo College of New Jersey Wednesday, March 5 at noon in The Trustees Pavilion. The public is welcome to attend; the program is free.

Braun’s book, DES Stories, tells the story of Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure, a public health event affecting millions worldwide. Braun wrote DES Stories to educate people about DES and help them know the power of stories to effect social change. Everyone has an important story to tell,” says Braun. Stories are a time-honored way to heal and make a difference in the world.”

Braun likens DES-exposed women and men to canaries who flew out of the mine. We have an incredible story to tell about chemical, toxic exposure. Many young women have died from DES exposure,” she says. I am lucky to survive and heal.”

DES was the first synthetic estrogen pill. It was prescribed to millions of women worldwide to prevent miscarriage. DES is linked to cancers and serious reproductive tract injuries in the daughters and sons exposed to DES in utero. Studies show that mothers prescribed DES have an increased risk for breast cancer.

There are 10 million Americans exposed to DES, and hundreds of thousands of people exposed to DES in Canada, Australia, and Europe. DES was used in as many as 30 countries, to treat over 100 conditions. Anyone born or pregnant between 1938-1971 in the U.S. could have been exposed to DES.

DES is linked to the deaths of hundreds of young women from clear cell vaginal cancer. In general DES daughters have higher rates of cancers, reproductive malformations, infertility, and pregnancy loss. DES sons have higher rates of structural reproductive anomalies. DES mothers have higher rates of breast cancer. DES stands as the clearest proof that an individual, exposed to synthetic hormones before birth, may develop reproductive injuries, decades later. Recent 2002 studies present new evidence that DES is linked to higher risk for breast cancer in DES daughters. For many years DES fell somewhat through the cracks of medical and health education. It took the personal stories by men and women hurt by DES to raise public awareness,” says Braun.

This year, 2003, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) is launching a DES education campaign to update the public and physicians about the consequences of DES. Information about DES can be found at http://www.desstories.com and http://www.cdc.gov/des, and at DES Action, a national organization for DES exposed people at http://www.desaction.org.

DES is an important part of American culture,” says Braun. It is a classic case study because more and more people are exposed to toxic chemicals that can harm us decades later, like DES.”

Braun is the owner of Urban Spa Coaching, a coaching and communications firm in Rochester, NY. She is the co-founder and past executive director of the DES Cancer Network in Washington, D.C. Braun serves on the NCI steering committee overseeing DES medical research in the U.S. and she has played a key role in gaining DES research. Braun is a DES daughter who was among the first young women in the U.S. diagnosed with DES cancer.

The DES Stories exhibit has been shown throughout the U.S., most recently at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. In 2003, Braun will show DES Stories at Sarah Lawrence College, NY; University of Washington, Seattle; and the Global Health Council in Washington, D.C.

Braun will lead a DES Monologues circle immediately after her talk. She chose the name as a take-off on the popular theater show, Vagina Monologues. DES Monologues uses a traditional circle for individuals to speak briefly of their experience.

Photos available: please call Bonnie Franklin, (201) 684-6844.
For more information, please call Margaret Braun, (585) 244-3436, desstories@aol.com.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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