This Doesn’t Have To Keep Happening To Women!

It was just a few months ago when I first heard about Joey Feek of Joey and Rory.  It wasn’t because of her angelic voice, her natural beauty, or her kind and happy spirit; she popped up in my newsfeed due to her battle with cervical cancer.  As an advocate, the cervical cancer piece hooked me; all the other wonderful things about her and her family drew me in, and I’ve followed them closely for the last few months via media and her husband’s blog This Life I Live.

The more I read about Joey, the more I realized the similarities we shared, and I found myself somewhat reliving my cancer journey along with her.  Joey was born and raised in central Indiana; so was I.  We were both born in the fall of 1975, less than a month apart.  Both of our lives have been touched by people with special needs; her daughter, my brother and my profession.  I was diagnosed with cervical cancer shortly after giving birth; so was Joey.  We also endured the same initial treatment plan during the beginning phases of our cervical cancer diagnoses, and we both have a strong faith. Following her story has brought back the physical pain of enduring treatments aFB_IMG_1457148363327nd side effects as well as the emotional pain of losing my fertility and the fear of potentially dying as a young mother and wife.   

Sadly, Joey passed away last week, and there’s one thing I can’t get out of my mind:

This doesn’t have to keep happening to women!

The advances in medicine and options available today have the capability to eradicate cervical cancer and to protect not only ourselves, but the women in our lives: our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and even our favorite public figures.  While not every woman has easy access to these advances and options, many of us do!  Some women recognize this and take advantage of these opportunities; however, not enough of us are!  Here’s a short list of some opportunities you shouldn’t be missing:

  • Get a well-woman exam EVERY year.
  • Ask for and HPV test (in addition to a Pap test) – not all physicians will automatically do one.
  • Have your daughters AND sons vaccinated for HPV as early as possible at (or as soon after) the recommended ages of 11 or 12.
  • If you’re under 26 and haven’t been vaccinated yet – do so.

Please make sure you’re taking advantage of these opportunities to keep yourself and/or the women in your life from having to go through what myself, Joey Feek, and many other women have had to!  

Cervical cancer is preventable now, and we all have a part to play in eradicating this disease.  What will be your next step?

-Cervivor Ambassador Heather Banks

Squeezing It All In: Advocating on LIVE TV

By Cervivor Ambassador Heather

IMG_9008Recently, fellow Cervivor Ambassador, Melissa B., and I had the opportunity to do some advocacy work on a local TV show, and it was LIVE! It was our first time being on live TV, and we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Everything happens so fast — you show up, wait until they call you to the set, seconds later you’re on the air, and minutes later you’re done, whisked away to get your belongings and be on your way!

We knew in advance that the focus would be around Cervivor Ambassador Danielle’s lovely Disney Princesses, but, aside from that, we went in pretty blind.  There was no time to meet with the show host beforehand. We didn’t even know what she’d ask or how the segment would flow.

How did we get the important messages in? We did as much in advance as we could. We knew what we wanted our talking points to be, and we manipulated the conversation the best we could to focus on our intended messages.

WATCH HERE >>> http://wishtv.com/2016/02/16/disney-princess-campaign-brings-cervical-cancer-awareness/

Chatting with Danielle beforehand allowed us to get some talking points about the Disney Princesses from her point of view. In a way, we were there representing her and illustrator Maritza Lugo – so we wanted their perspective. As ambassadors, we were also there representing Cervivor. Therefore, we made sure to speak to some of the pillars of Cervivor’s mission: sharing our stories, giving factual and impactful information, and advocating for women to advocate for themselves in order to help eradicate cervical cancer. We knew what we wanted to say and knew we had to be quick. We adapted our responses to the host’s questions to fit our agenda the best that we could. It’s a bit ironic that even though live TV is somewhat unpredictable, we still had control of our responses. We listened for small details and hooks within her questions that we could grasp on to and use as leverage into what messages we wanted give.

It was quick, it was fun, and we made the most of the time we had.  Every little bit helps our cause!