Empowering Lives, One Gene at a Time

Unveiling the journey

In our journey with “The Angela Motley Effect,” an unexpected revelation surfaced during my battle against breast cancer—a hidden BRCA1 gene. This unveiling led us back to my Grandfather, Charlie “The BROW” DiGiovanna, a cherished Brooklyn Dodgers figure. Despite knowing about my Grandfather, we lost touch with his family after his passing. Tee Agricola, his younger sister, had yearned to reconnect, but without leads, she continued on with her life, having her own family. My mom, having lost her Dad at 6, always wished to find her aunt she knew of, while Tee hoped to find her brother’s kids but didn’t know how. 65 years passed, and it was my breast cancer journey that urged us to seek answers. For all these years, I never knew we had someone out there to look for.

Uniting Hearts Against BRCA1/BRCA2

Empowering Lives, Illuminating Paths

At "The Angela Motley Effect," our mission resonates from the heart—a personal journey fueled by the revelation of the BRCA1 gene mutation intertwined with a long-lost family connection. We're driven by the resounding belief that knowledge transforms lives. Dedicated to raising awareness and providing crucial resources about BRCA1/BRCA2, we strive to ensure everyone has access to genetic testing and the support needed upon a positive diagnosis.

Our foundation stands not just as an educational resource but as a testament to the power of discovery, unity, and resilience. Through our outreach efforts, we aim to empower individuals affected by the gene mutation, providing them with information, support, and guidance as they navigate their own paths toward wellness and understanding.


Your personal journey weaves into the very fabric of our foundation, infusing it with a spirit of resilience, discovery, and familial reconnection. Together, we aim to champion awareness, empower individuals, and foster a community where knowledge is a guiding light toward healthier and informed choices.

Angela ringing the bell after her last round of chemotherapy.

My Journey Through Breast Cancer

Embracing Resilience

In April 2019, life felt steady, marked by clear checkups and daily routines. But life often surprises us. In July, a small lump appeared in my left breast, changing everything.

August brought a doctor's visit, questioning the lump's nature despite earlier good results. An ultrasound and biopsy followed. Then, after Labor Day, the life-altering news arrived: breast cancer at just 43.

This diagnosis led me down an unexpected road filled with hardships and inspiring moments. Hearing survivors’ tales fueled my determination. Friends like Cari Smith, battling their own cancer, motivated me to mentor and advocate.

The strongest inspiration came from long-term survivors. Their stories echoed hope and life after cancer, igniting my resolve to be a beacon of hope.

Welcome to “The Angela Motley Effect,” where my journey embodies resilience and positivity. Let's walk this path together, embracing challenges and celebrating victories.

Finding Strength Through Challenges

Amidst a family history shadowed by cancer, my maternal lineage seemed ominously predisposed. With twelve siblings and multiple cancer cases, the narrative seemed clear, tying my genetic inclination to my mother’s side.

However, a revelation unfolded unexpectedly in the summer of 2023. Connecting with my grandmother’s siblings’ descendants, a different truth emerged. Contrary to assumptions, it wasn’t ovarian cancer but lung cancer that affected my grandmother’s sister. Their negative BRCA1 gene mutation tests suggested the mutation might originate from my grandfather’s side.

Unveiling the Battle

Overcoming Obstacles on the Road to Recovery

Facing the Challenges

For nearly four years, my assumption had been straightforward: the BRCA1 gene mutation that led to my breast cancer diagnosis stemmed from my maternal grandmother's side. It seemed like the logical answer. She had battled breast cancer, a devastating foe that claimed her life in 2015. She was of Jewish descent, and it's widely known that this gene mutation is more common among Jewish populations.

Angela resting in bed with a bouquet of flowers during her battle with cancer.

About half of Jewish people around the world today identify as Ashkenazi, meaning that they descend from Jews who lived in Central or Eastern Europe.

Also – my Cancer team is who told me that the Ashkenazi Jew community was known as the highest carriers of this gene mutation.

Turns out – we are NOT ashkenaszi jewish…

The BRCA1 Gene Has Been Passed Down In My Family

Family Genetics

In our family, Marie – my mom’s cousin – from her father’s side, Marie Agricola – bravely faced breast cancer in 2011. When she got tested, they found the BRCA1 gene, which she inherited from her mom, Tee. Later on, I battled breast cancer in 2019, and we discovered it’s linked to my Grandfather.

In my immediate family, my mom, brother, and I all have this gene. Two of my brother’s kids also have it; one doesn’t, and the youngest hasn’t been tested yet. Interestingly, my two kids and Tee’s six granddaughters have chosen not to do the test as of now.

This gene discovery has been woven through our family stories, affecting different generations. It’s important for all of us to understand it better, especially those at risk, to make informed decisions about our health journeys.

The BRCA1 Gene Mutation

Understanding the BRCA1 Gene Mutation

For more information on BRCA1 and ‘The Angelina Effect’ click the button below.

Learn About BRCA1 Gene Mutation

About 1 in every 500 women in the U.S., carry mutations in these genes

But what is this BRCA1 gene mutation that altered Angela’s life? All women possess BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. However, only a minority, about 1 in every 500 women in the U.S., carry mutations in these genes. These mutations can cause cells to divide and change rapidly, making one susceptible to cancer.

The significance and impact of this mutation were thrust into the global spotlight by Angelina Jolie, the famed actress. Carrying the BRCA1 gene mutation, Jolie brought to light her 87% risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% chance of ovarian cancer in her lifetime, given her genetic predisposition. The stark reality of this mutation and its implications became widely recognized as “The Angelina Jolie Effect”. Read more about it here.

My Grandfather is Charlie "The BROW" DiGiovanna

Charlie "The BROW" DiGiovanna

He was the Bat Boy for the Team, before being promoted to Equipment Manager with the move to LA. with his family.

One of his many tasks was to sign the clubhouse balls for the team. Charlie was so talented at this skill that Duke Snider once joked that “Charlie could sign my name better than I can!’’

This 1958 Year Book…

Is ALL the “Work of the Brow’’.

Learn About "The Brow"
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The Angela Motley Effect relies on sponsorships and donations to support women and those affected by the BRCA1 gene mutation.
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Spreading Awareness
Today, Angela advocates for awareness. Combining her story with her grandfather's legacy, she underscores the importance of understanding one's family health lineage and proactive health checks. Angela's journey, shaped by personal challenges, history, and a quest for awareness, is a testament to the strength of character and the importance of legacy in guiding our paths.

Angela offers motivational speaking, bringing her experience and challenges to the forefront to help other breast cancer survivors keep hope in their fight.
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Has cancer or the BRCA1 gene affected your life?

Educate and Communicate

The strength drawn from friends and family is truly unmatched, especially when navigating the tumultuous seas of cancer. I'm profoundly grateful for the solid foundation of support I've had, realizing that not everyone has such a cushion to fall back on during this challenging journey.

Life's curveballs, especially those thrown by cancer, can be overwhelming. But together, by sharing our stories, we can find strength and hope. If you feel moved to share your experience or think your story could inspire others, please reach out. I'd be honored to feature your journey on our blog.