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National Immunization Awareness Month

There is something about the start of a school year each August, that brings excitement. We go shopping for new clothes, fresh school supplies, and the perfect lunch box. It can feel like New Year’s as we look at a new academic year, with new instructors, and a clean start. August is also National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). As you and your family are preparing for an amazing school year, Cervivor wants to remind you to make sure the kiddos are “back to school ready” by ensuring they are current on their immunizations, including the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine.

At Cervivor our community is committed to staying engaged in the immunization conversation year-round. We regularly share our Cervivor stories in hopes to change the narrative and stigma around HPV related cancers and the importance of the lifesaving HPV vaccination. We routinely share out on social media, as it is a quick yet powerful way to show our cervical cancer journey and to remind people in our lives that it is almost always preventable.  In honor of NIAM, we wanted to share what we’ve been up to in our fight to end HPV related cancer.

Elizabeth Holliman is a longtime Cervivor Ambassador whose oldest son was finally eligible for the HPV Vaccine this month. Elizabeth is making sure R.J. is protected: I vowed to protect my sons from the HPV strains that can cause cancer, it can be prevented by the vaccine. Here’s my R.J. getting his first round of the vaccine today. I never want my kids to go through what I did, or many others have when it’s preventable. It’s just that simple. There was no hesitation.  When you know better, you do better. 

Scott Courville is an oropharyngeal cancer survivor and an active member of our online HPV cancer support group. Scott recently had his son vaccinated and urges others to do the same: If you could prevent your child from getting certain cancers early on with a simple vaccination, why wouldn’t you?

The effort to spread truth and facts about the HPV vaccination is not just for those HPV cancer survivors with children or children eligible for vaccination. Many in our community regularly share and have been able to impact those in their network. For example, Lucy Philips is an active member of our community and will be attending Cervivor School next month in Cape Cod. She faithfully shares her journey and recently wrote to us. Lucy shares:

Kelly’s son, Noah

Having battled Cervical Cancer myself, there is absolutely no hesitation in my decision to vaccinate my children with the HPV Vaccine…. not only my daughters, but my son too! For now, my children are too young to receive the HPV Vaccine, but that doesn’t stop me from encouraging other parents to have their children vaccinated. It is amazing how many people are completely unaware of HPV and the fact that there is a vaccine which prevents the most harmful strains of HPV. I feel like it’s my responsibility to inform other parents and share with others my own personal battle with an HPV related cancer. A friend from work recently scheduled her son to have the HPV Vaccine and this is what she sent me:

“I never considered vaccinating my boys until listening to everything you went through. I wasn’t even aware that boys were at risk of HPV or HPV related cancers. If I had known, I would have vaccinated my boys sooner! My 17-year-old son just received the vaccine and my 15-year-old son will be receiving it soon. I will do anything within my power to make sure my boys do not suffer from something that is completely preventable”. – Kelly Green

Cervivor Ambassador Holly Lawson doesn’t have children. However, she frequently shares her cervical cancer journey with those in her social media network. Just last month, she shared a message from a college friend who had been impacted by following her posts: Thank you for sharing your story and updates. I thought you might like to know you have encouraged our family. My 11-year-old got the HPV vaccine because you shared how important it was. It was you who made that so clear to me about how important that was. His doctor felt it was important as well, but your story made it real to me and helped me see past the fear of that vaccine.

What testimonies to the power of sharing our stories and making a difference! The HPV Vaccination is safe, effective, and is cancer prevention. This month as you’re preparing the kiddos with new clothes, shoes, and school supplies, why not make sure they are prepared for a future that is FREE of an HPV related cancer? You can’t protect them from everything, but you can protect them from high risk strains of HPV. Act now, to protect them later.

Schedule an appointment to speak with your doctor or pediatrician today.

For further information regarding safety and recommendations, visit the Center for Disease Control HPV Vaccines: Vaccinating Your Preteen or Teen.

 

Survivor Slimdown

In 2018, there will be an estimated 1.7 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in the U.S., with that number estimated to be 23.6 million worldwide by 2030. Thankfully with advances in medicine, the number of survivors of the disease is also on the rise. The National Cancer Institute reports that in 2016 there were 15.5 million cancer survivors in the U.S. and that number is expected to increase to 20.3 million by 2026.  Cancer Survivorship is an area that continues to be studied, as practitioners seek to help patients learn to live life beyond cancer.

Cervivor has found that many cancer survivors emerge on the other side of the disease ready to tackle life, but often what is waiting for them is an unhealthy lifestyle. Obesity is a known factor for the development of other co-morbid illness, prevalent in cancer survivors such as diabetes and heart disease and can feel like an up hill battle. Survivors regularly struggle with depression, anxiety, motivation, and weight issues that are often intertwined and connected to one another. We see and hear this message consistently and decided to do something about it.

In January 2018, Cervivor re-launched a project called “Survivor Slimdown.” Survivor Slimdown is an online group aimed to support ALL CANCER survivors in their fight to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle after a cancer diagnosis. While we are a “slimdown” group, we aim to address and support all survivors and recognize the connection of mind, body, and spirit. We currently have 70 members engaged in our private online group, led by cancer survivors Patti Murillo-Casa and Holly Lawson.

Patti Murillo-Casa, Survivor Slimdown admin AND in-house fitness guru.
Holly Lawson, Survivor Slimdown admin, finishing her first post-cancer 5k.

Patti is a retired New York City police officer turned fitness guru. After her battle with cancer, she lost over 100 lbs! She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Senior Fitness Specialist, Pound Pro Instructor, and Spinning Instructor just to name a few. Patti assists in the administration of our online group, ensuring information being shared is safe, accurate, and cutting edge. Holly had just completed her 4th half marathon when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016. She had extensive complications from treatment that left her inactive for two years. Holly is determined to regain her health and fitness. She and Patti pack a power punch. They love leading the Slimdown group as active participants on the constant journey of health.

Survivor Slimdown provides daily motivation with “Fit Tips” and regular challenges, to keep members engaged and motivated. The group is constantly sharing recipes and tips for living a balanced lifestyle. However, it truly is the spirit of our survivors that makes the group so dynamic. Survivors understand one another and can encourage one another in the quest for health in ways others simply cannot.

Here’s what participants are saying about Survivor Slimdown:

Survivors keeping one another motivated and challenged! They understand!

“I love that we are all in this journey together even though we may be at different levels of fitness or at different stages in our health or Survivorship, we come together in this group. We all encourage each other, laugh about our misadventures, and “celebrate our victories.” Maria Franklin

This brings motivation to me without judgement and constant nagging!” Kristine Sprigler

“The Fit Tips are my fav! All the positive posts really keep me going and inspire me to ‘pay the motivation forward’. My physical and spiritual self-feel energized.” Carol Lacey

“I like the realistic goals & suggestions, along with the consistent positive encouragement are such a breath of fresh air and help me stay on goal.” Sarah Nielson

“The daily posts, the recipe suggestions, encouragement from everyone keep me motivated.” Paulette Apostolou

Survivor Slimdown participants are staying active with everything from walking, running, personal trainers, sparing, and water aerobics!

“The positive attitudes of the members and the constant encouragement of each member to push and support the rest of the group through all obstacles, has been one of the biggest reasons I love this group.”  Scott Courville

Do you find yourself feeling stuck and unmotivated to be active and live healthfully? Do you want to be on this journey with people who get you? Would you love to have accountability, recipe sharing, daily Fit Tips, and regular challenges for yourself? If this is you, we invite you to join us. We welcome all cancer survivors, male or female-no matter what the diagnosis, to join our online group. We understand cancer survivors, we understand finding your way in Survivorship, and we understand the desire to live a healthy balanced life after cancer. Come join us in Survivor Slimdown!

Click here to join Survivor Slimdown!

Statistics retrieved from https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/ocs/statistics/statistics.html