If Cervivor School Florida taught me one thing, it was to be absolutely fearless in achieving my goals. It proved to me that I could accomplish anything I wanted to. It also made me realize that I will never be alone in my endeavors. Cervivor is a network of women all across the world looking to eradicate cervical cancer. Together we accomplish those goals and I’ve decided to come up with a list to help me in my advocacy efforts. I like to think of this list as a living and breathing document. It will evolve as my advocacy moves forward. This is my personal Living Advocacy List:
Goal 1: Make the Cervivor Presence Known on Social Media
My first goal is something that takes almost no effort on good days; dedicating ten minutes a day to engaging with Cervivor on social media can make a huge difference. I enjoy it because anyone can find numerous factual articles on Cervivor’s website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The best part of sharing on social media is that it can reach several people in a matter of minutes and each social media platform as the potential to reach a different audience.
Using social media can also help you to gain the sense of support. You can physically see that you are in no means, alone, ever. Sometimes that support makes all the difference.
Goal 2: Discuss HPV More
There’s a weird stigma in our society regarding HPV. It’s more common than we know and approximately 80% of our population will have it at some point. Most fail to realize there is testing for women only and they are currently undergoing ways to screen males in the research field. HPV doesn’t just affect women, it affects men too. I hope to discuss this more in person, on social media, and to anyone who will talk to me about it.
Goal 3: Increase my Community Connections with Knowledge
It is my goal to use my existing community connections with knowledge related to HPV and/or cervical cancer. As a cancer survivor, a volunteer, a dental assistant, and a social worker, I see many ways I can discuss HPV with my community. I play so many roles and sometimes I don’t realize what kind of impact I can have. I will never know unless I try.
Goal 4: Reach Out to Parents and Children
Another goal of mine is to increase awareness about HPV vaccination. I plan to achieve this goal by reaching out to and educating parents and children of vaccination age is extremely important. From the ages of 9-26, you can get the HPV vaccination. That’s quite a range of age to advocate for and again, it’s not just a female vaccination. It is a vaccination young males should be getting as well!
Goal 5: LOBBY!
Our voices need to be heard because our stories are real. There is so much going on with our political atmosphere and I want to get involved. Cervivor can make a difference, I can make a difference! If we want to save lives, this is an important tool.
Goal 6: Perfect my Story
I want to perfect my story and focus on telling it impact fully. There are many ways to tell a story. Many of you may not understand what this disease does unless you hear my story. There may only be a few ways you can connect to my story or some may not connect at all. That’s okay! Maybe you know of someone who has a similar story or you may meet someone in the future and it will be one of those “a-ha” moments. You know exactly who to refer them to!
Goal 7: Write More
Writing is one of the very things I find therapeutic. It helps me in advocating, telling my story, and it releases emotions in a way that I may not be able to otherwise. We all know how much emotion is behind a cancer diagnosis and as soon as it’s over we tend to forget how we are supposed to move on. I think that through writing more I can continue to use my writing as a tool for my advocacy.
Goal 8: Talk About HPV and Cervical Cancer Treatment Side Effects
HPV and cervical cancer destroyed my chance of having my own (biological) children. It took away my menstrual cycle. Many women would be excited over the chance of not having a period but do you know how abnormal that actually makes a woman feel? Do you know what it’s like to try to date or to have a normal relationship after going through something so traumatic?
Did you know that many women who have undergone treatment for cervical cancer have to utilize a dilator on a regular basis? Can you imagine what it’s like to have to use a piece of cold, hard plastic to make sure you maintain “normal” function of your womanly-parts? This is what life after cervical cancer can be like. People should know that this cancer doesn’t end at remission. It is a lifetime of changes and challenges.
So, what would be on your personal Living Advocacy List?
Learn more about my story here: http://cervivor.org/stories/morgan/