Remembering Becky

The Cervivor community has again felt a great loss. Today we honor and remember Cervivor Ambassador Becky Wallace.

Becky held such kindness for everybody she met; so giving and generous of herself no matter her personal struggles, she always cheered others on.

“It wasn’t meant for me to just get cervical cancer and wipe my hands of it and move on; without making a meaningful difference in the story of the disease, without taking action to help prevent it for others.” – Becky Wallace

She was fierce. A mama bear. And after finding Cervivor, she knew her existence. She wanted other mothers to know her story, and that their well-being was as important as their families. She found a home within the Cervivor community too.

We are sending our light and love to Becky’s husband Ryan, their beautiful daughters and all her family and friends.

Know Your Existence: Becky’s ‘Why’

Back in September 2019, I attended Cervivor School to become an ambassador. I had no idea what to expect. I consider myself to be pretty sociable but I was beyond nervous and terrified when I stepped off the plane and landed in Chicago. As I’m checking into the hotel, who is the very first person I see, Tamika Felder. Even though she was running around making sure all the behind the scene details were perfect, she still took the time to hug me (pre-covid obvi ?) and made me feel so welcomed. I immediately felt a sense of ease and the nerves instantly turned into excitement. 


We had the pleasure of having, Roshanda Pratt as a guest speaker and she blew me away. She had us write down our “why statement” and then from there she wanted us to come up with three words that summed up our why. Know Your Existence is mine. I wanted my advocacy to be geared towards mothers – I wanted them to know that their life and checkups are equally as important as their families. I wanted minority women, especially in the Asian culture where below-the-belt talk is something that is rarely ever discussed, to be aware and know how important their checkups with their healthcare providers are.

I wanted women to Know Their Existence matters. 


Now I am amid a cancer reoccurrence and treatment. Who would have known that my own words now resonate specifically to me this time around. Know Your Existence, Becky. Push through, fight, give it your all, be your own advocate, speak up, research, question your doctors and live in the moment… Know Your Existence


My sister-in-law had these shirts made for me shortly after I returned from Cervivor School. She planned on surprising me with them but when we found out about the reoccurrence she sprang into action and had the women in my family take photos to show their support. I always talk about my amazing army of supporters and my Cervivor sisters are part of my tribe. I didn’t discover Cervivor until a month after my radical hysterectomy in August 2018 so to have the love and support from a group of women who just get IT has been a blessing this time around too.

Becky was originally diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2018, at age 35, and quickly became an active member of the Cervivor community, joining Facebook Group discussions, attending MeetUps, participating in the September 2019 Cervivor School and becoming a Cervivor Ambassador. She was diagnosed with a recurrence in late-2019, just weeks after returning from Cervivor School. Read her Cervivor story and learn how, amid this most recent diagnosis, her Cervivor Spark and passion to prevent other women from cervical cancer gets stronger each day.

“The Fire Gets Stronger Every Day”: A Recurrence Hasn’t Stopped This Cervivor from Educating, Advocating and Story Sharing

Becky Wallace, a young mother from California, came to Cervivor School in September 2019 to learn how to fully and effectively share her story. Just two months later, she faced a cancer recurrence. Amid this devastating news, Becky has shown our community what it means to embody the “Cervivor Spark.” 

“It wasn’t meant for me to just to get cervical cancer, and wipe my hands of it and move on,” without making a meaningful difference in the story of the disease, without taking action to help prevent it for others, says Becky.

Surrounded by family and friends, Becky shaved her head as she headed into chemo. “I shaved my head on a Sunday and woke up Monday with a whole new focus and whole new mindset. Ever since, I have this new fight in me and the fire gets stronger and stronger each day. I share my story so that this doesn’t have to be your story. Cervical cancer is something that is preventable and it is my job as a mom, a wife, friend, daughter and advocate to really put it out there.” 


See our powerful video of Becky finding and sharing her Cervivor Spark. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog featuring an interview with Becky who, in the midst of chemo, recently hosted an educational event at her home, speaking about her experiences, and calling on the women in her life and in her community to keep up with screening and vaccination.  

Becky understands the power of our stories to educate and to mobilize women to take action. If you haven’t yet shared your story on Cervivor.org, add your own!

The Power of Setting Boundaries

This past Fall I was a keynote speaker for the Cervical Cancer Summit and spoke about the development of my three word “Why” statement. Why I keep fighting each day, educating and advocating about cervical cancer so that no other woman has to go through what I am going through. Why I speak up, research, question and give it my all. For me, my why statement is “Know Your Existence.”

I want women – and mothers especially – to know that their health and their checkups are equally as important  as their families’. I want minority women, especially in the Asian culture where  below-the-belt subjects are rarely discussed, to know how important their annual women’s health checkups are. I want women to Know Their Existence matters.

For me, part of Know Your Existence also means know what you need, physically and spiritually.  During my talk, I spoke about boundaries and how important it is to set boundaries with friends and loved ones during your cancer journey. Wherever you are in your cancer journey – initial diagnosis, surgery, chemo, radiation, etc. –  boundaries are extremely important. I did not set up boundaries the first time I was diagnosed and, as a result, I often cared too much about how others around me were feeling and dealing with MY diagnosis.

With my recurrence, it was a whole new ball game. For my own health and my own sanity, I put boundaries in place. It was no longer about how others were dealing with what I was going through. It was no longer making sure everybody else was okay. It was no longer about getting together with friends because I would feel bad or felt obligated. It was now about me and what my soul needed.

Everyone has good intentions. They want to be supportive and helpful, but it’s up to you to let your support system know exactly what you need from them.

Becky with members of her “squad” of support.

I do want to stress the importance of a solid support system. But, it’s important to really be in control of who is in your squad. Overall, I have been extremely blessed to have an amazing support system. They listen to what my needs are. They respect me when it takes me days to respond to a text or call because I am not always in the mood to talk. At the end of the day, they know what boundaries I have set in place and they honor them.

Unfortunately, we all have some people in our lives that I like to call “energy vampires.” These are the folks that, though they may mean well, leave you emotionally drained after a conversation because they have literally sucked out the little energy that you do have. When dealing with the trauma and hell that cancer brings into your life, there is no better time to draw some strict boundaries around these folks and the access they have to you.

Unfortunately, I’ve come to learn that some people are just drawn to other people’s suffering and pain and only “show up” because at the end of the day, it really is about them and not you. These are people who might show up for a visit, but at the end of the day leave you feeling like the visit was only to make themselves feel better rather than to make you feel better.

I learned this first-hand when I had a few people who wanted to be there for me only on my chemo days. Almost like they wanted some sort of credit for showing up and sitting with me. Sorry folks, this isn’t school and you don’t get credit for just “showing up.” It is wonderful to have your solid support come visit and sit during those long chemo days, but make sure the people visiting are there for the right reason: YOU. If you want to take a nap while someone is visiting, take a nap. Don’t feel the need to entertain someone. Boundaries people, boundaries. There is no better advocate for yourself than yourself, remember that.

At the end of the day, I just want everyone, not just those who are going through trauma to truly understand how important boundaries are in our lives. I want people to know that it is okay to set boundaries for yourself and to not feel guilty about it. Know that you matter. Know that your voice matters. Know Your Existence.

Becky was originally diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2018, at age 35, and quickly became an active member of the Cervivor community, joining Facebook Group discussions, attending Meet Ups, participating in the September 2019 Cervivor School and becoming a Cervivor Ambassador. Read her Cervivor story and learn how she brings her passion and Cervivor Spark to help stop cervical cancer.

The New Normal

I don’t know if I can think of a saying I hate more than those three words. I have heard so many people say, with regards to COVID-19, that we need to get use to the new normal. There is nothing normal about any of this. It is not normal for my kids to not be able to have play dates, it is not normal that my kids school shut down and had to switch to distance learning, it is not normal to have to wipe down every single grocery item that gets delivered with Clorox wipes, it is not normal to not be able to hug your friends and family that do not live in your house and it is not normal to not be able to go anywhere. The list can go on. 

I have heard, “this is the new normal”, or “get use to your new normal” when it comes to my cancer journey too. But let me tell you, there is nothing normal about cancer. There is nothing normal about having a radical hysterectomy, there is nothing normal about having nine stent procedures, there is nothing normal about having to self catheterize, there is nothing normal about having a port inserted into your chest, there is nothing normal about losing your hair due to the poison being pumped through your body every three weeks, there is nothing normal about missing your kids’ activities, there is nothing normal about the strain cancer puts on your marriage, there is nothing normal about having a nephrostomy bag, there is nothing normal about the unexplained fatigue and there is absolutely nothing normal about having cancer

You know what does feel normal to me? The constant feeling that I am on a roller coaster except it’s not thrilling. You start off on the ride going extremely fast, your heart is beating out of your chest and you don’t know what is coming up next. Then your ride is steady as you weave around the turns. Up next, you climb the steep hill and then you speed down at full speed and you can’t catch your breath and you’re wondering when is this ride going to end. Right when you think it’s slowing down and you have a grasp on everything, it takes off again and you find yourself going up yet another hill and this time it has loopty loops. This is how I view my current journey with cancer; a roller coaster that I can’t get off and it doesn’t end. A ride that is full of up hill battles and twists and turns at every corner. Despite the gasping for air and the wind in my face feel, I know that this roller coaster is just a detour. The girls love roller coasters and will ride anything they are tall enough for so good thing my roller coaster doesn’t have a height requirement or limit of people because I have the best group of people in my corner. So until my current roller coaster comes to a happy ending, you will find me sitting front row with my arms in the air and the wind in my face. 


Becky was originally diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2018, at age 35, and quickly became an active member of the Cervivor community, joining Facebook Group discussions, attending MeetUps, participating in the September 2019 Cervivor School and becoming a Cervivor Ambassador. She was diagnosed with a recurrence in late-2019, just weeks after returning from Cervivor School. Read her Cervivor story and learn how, amid this most recent diagnosis, her Cervivor Spark and passion to prevent other women from cervical cancer gets stronger each day.

“I Looked in the Mirror and Saw a Warrior Looking Back at Me” – Video & Interview

Becky, a young mother from California, came to Cervivor School in September 2019 to learn how to fully and effectively share her cervical cancer story. Just two months later, she faced a recurrence: a diagnosis of an aggressive cancer in her liver and pelvis. Becky shows in a Cervivor story video what it means to embody the Cervivor Spark. Amid her devastating news and the restarting of chemo, Becky gathered her daughters, family and friends to join her in shaving her head. We spoke to Becky about the video, her inner strength, her Cervivor Spark and how shaving her head in an empowering way enabled her to see herself as a warrior.

Shaved Head and Cervivor Spark in the Throes of a Cancer Recurrence: Q&A with Becky

1. How did you first find Cervivor?

I stumbled upon Cervivor on one of my many late nights on Google, searching for information. Crying by myself in the middle of the night, I found Cervivor.org and the stories that so many women have shared.  I sat awake in bed the whole night reading story after story. For the first time since my diagnosis – a very dark, scary and lonely road –  I finally found someone who had gone through what I was going through. I related to somebody! I joined the Facebook group and participated in the online conversations. The support I found there from women who GET IT is nothing like I’d ever experienced. After reading all the Cervivor stories and joining the Facebook group, I wanted to find people in real life and went to my first Cervivor MeetUp. The MeetUp was a new beginning for me and is a big part of the path that led me to go to Cervivor School and to become a Cervivor Ambassador.

Becky at Cervivor School 2019

2. How did this video come to be?

Cervivor School helped me to be comfortable fully sharing my story to help other women. It helped me to truly understand and appreciate that the mission to end cervical cancer needs my story, my face and my voice. I knew I wanted documentation of this crazy journey. I wanted to have a video that I would be able to look back on,  especially for my girls. I had already started a Cervivor story video and when I had decided to shave my hair,  I reached out to a close friend of mine and asked her to video that whole process. The video is beyond what I could have ever imagined! The video is perfect. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched it! 

3. Tell us about the decision to shave your head, and the decision to do it surrounded by family and friends. What did that moment mean to you?

I decided to shave my head before I even started chemo again. I knew I was going to lose my hair, but I was told by my medical team that it typically doesn’t happen until after the second chemo session. When my hair started falling out just two weeks after my first chemo session, I knew it was time. Cancer had already taken so much away from me, and I wanted to own my hair and have the power to shave it before cancer also took that away from me.

I have a dear friend who also happens to be my hair stylist, so there wasn’t anyone else I wanted to shave my head. I decided to do it surrounded by my family and friends because I knew it was going to be extremely tough and emotional. But I mainly did it for my two daughters. I wanted them to be part of the process so that it wouldn’t seem so scary to them. Having them be a part of it, and to have them help cut and shave it, was a moment that I will never forget. It was beyond powerful and touching. And it definitely helped my daughters to be part of the process.

Once my head was shaved and I looked in the mirror, for the first time I saw a warrior looking back at me. I no longer saw a weak and lost woman in the mirror. I knew in that moment that I was going to fight with everything I had in me.   

4. The video shows and tells such a powerful story of inner strength and resolve amid a difficult diagnosis, and truly shows what it means to have the “Cervivor Spark.”  How do you keep up the fight and help your “fire get stronger and stronger each day”?

Honestly, it’s my girls that help me fight. I fight for them and it’s their two beautiful faces that keep me going every single day. If there is a day that I just feel defeated, all I have to do is think of my girls and their future and instantly that fire just grows. Before cancer, there wasn’t anything as a mother I wouldn’t do for my girls and that sure as hell isn’t going to stop now. If anything, it makes my role as a mother have more meaning. I look at my girls in a different light now. I will never stop advocating for myself and I will never stop doing my own research because I have two little humans who need their mom and who don’t deserve to go through and see things that cancer has brought into their lives. This isn’t about me. I didn’t give myself that fire. It’s my strong and resilient daughters that deserve all the credit.

Becky and her “strong and resilient” daughters who keep her going, every single day.

Becky was originally diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2018, at age 35, and quickly became an active member of the Cervivor community, joining Facebook Group discussions, attending MeetUps, participating in the September 2019 Cervivor School and becoming a Cervivor Ambassador. She was diagnosed with a recurrence in late-2019, just weeks after returning from Cervivor School. Read her Cervivor story and learn how, amid this most recent diagnosis, her Cervivor Spark and passion to prevent other women from cervical cancer gets stronger each day.

Cervivor School 2019 Was Incredible

Cervivor’s 12th patient advocacy training event in Chicago was one for the books! We had some of the most inspiring and informative speakers during our 2-day event, along with memory-making fun.

Tamika & Lisa

We kicked it off with our Welcome Reception that featured comedian and cervical cancer survivor Lisa Gopman. This wonder women powerhouse made her below-the-belt cancer funny and oh-so relatable, especially to a crowd of Cervivors! Lisa was so inspired by our program and the women she met that she stayed with us for the entire weekend.

Day one was our Wellness Day where Tamika and Lead Advocacy Educator Heather Banks share the importance of growing Cervivor’s footprint and the power of our stories. Honing in on those important messages, we heard from Cervivor Ambassador’s Emily Hoffman and Morgan Newmann on how they found their collective Cervivor voice. In between our sessions, we practiced mindful awareness, restful restoration and reclaimed our Yin energy with Lauren Mansell.

Cervivor Ambassador’s Paulette Apostolou and Carol Lacey presented an interactive session, Healing Through Writing, started by our very own Erica Frasier Stum. We had a another impactful session with Dr. Amy Siston on living through the emotional trauma that is cancer. And for the second year, we heard from the dynamic Roshanda Pratt who talked about knowing our why and how that can propel us in the work we do as Cervivors.

“I’m forever impacted by Cervivor School. I knew it would be inspiring and educational, but I did not expect it to be life changing in terms of how my story goes. I feel braver, stronger and more confident with my story then I ever have been before. I’m no longer leaving it buried like it has been for the last 6 years. Speaking about it in a way that can help educate others makes me feel powerful over cancer. It doesn’t scare me anymore!”
– Cervivor Amy Dent, Australia, Diagnosis: stage 1b1 cervical cancer

We ended the evening with dinner together and our Pajama Jam, where Dr. Siston lead us through a discussion on our bodies after cancer and how that can effect our sexual health. Girl talk after cancer looks and feels different and there is something safe and sacred about being in a room with women who truly ‘get it’.

Day two is our Medical Day where we get the latest and greatest on HPV, the HPV vaccine and cervical cancer screening. Dr. Sherrie Wellington started the day talking about cervical cancer disparities and thinking beyond our own communities. Cervical cancer is global issue, and even in our own communities there are so many who do not have access to proper screening or are uninformed about the HPV vaccine. Dr. Wellington used the term, “knowledge gap” and how we as patient advocates can fill that much needed knowledge gap.

Dr. Nita Lee, who was instrumental in helping with this year’s speaker lineup, talked about HPV and it’s connection to cervical cancer. Dr. Lee and Paulette also talked about how Cervivors’ and their oncology team can make the best partnership when it comes to reaching more women in one’s own community. We also heard from Dr. Andrea Loberg and Dr. Marielle Fricchione on cervical cancer screening guidelines and vaccination as presentation.


“I just can’t stop telling people how life changing and powerful it was for me.”
– Cervivor Becky Wallace, California, Diagnosis: Adenosquamous carcinoma stage 1BII

Jennifer Sienko with the American Cancer Society & the HPV Roundtable joined us again this year to talk about being armed and compassionate advocates when it comes to talking about HPV facts. We also heard from Cervivor Ambassador’s Maria Franklin and Tina Vetreno who talked about contributing to Cervivor’s footprint and the importance that the tile ‘Cervivor Ambassador’ holds.

Karla & Maria

We closed out the weekend with Tamika presenting the 2019 Cervivor Champion Award to one of our Leadership team members, Maria Franklin. A much deserved accolade to a woman who tirelessly works in and outside our Latinx community, educating and guiding, as well as managing our Cervivor Espanol site. Congratulations Maria!

Our newest Cervivor School graduates hold the promise of making their survivorship count by using their newfound Cervivor knowledge to educate their communities and beyond. As Maria so passionately said, “Every single one of us has to do our part. Ending cervical cancer is our job.”

Pajama Jam fun!


“Cervivor school showed me what I really have to offer as an ambassador and how to come out of my shell. I left knowing that I was not alone. I learned way more about myself and what I can offer. I felt like I now I am part of something that is going to be a part of changing lives. Cancer will not stop me and that I will be a voice to educate others. I am a fighter and Cervivor School showed me no one is alone. It was the best time and the best learning experience I have had. It definitely changed my life.”
 – Cervivor Tracy Jimenez, Colorado, Diagnosis: Stage 2b

Team Cervivor wishes all our new and returning Ambassador’s much success and wellness as you move through your journey with Cervivor.