PRESS RELEASE: Cervical Cancer Survivors Train for Advocacy at “Cervivor School”

 

Cervical Cancer Survivors Train for Advocacy at “Cervivor School” During Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month

Susan G. Komen founder Nancy Brinker to speak to cervical cancer survivors about strategies that drive awareness and impact policy

Sept. 17, 2018 – Timed to Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, cervical cancer patients and survivors from across America and Europe will come together Sept. 20-22 in Cape Cod, Mass., to learn how to leverage their own personal stories to become advocates for cervical cancer education, prevention and policy change. Convened by Cervivor, the “Cervivor School” will feature Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen and the regarded global leader of the breast cancer / women’s cancer awareness and prevention movement.

“I look forward to sharing my story and more importantly, communicating to these brave women the power of their own stories, and how they can make a positive impact in their communities, this country and around the world,” said Ms. Brinker. “I am honored and excited to speak to the Cervivor School, which is doing great work in helping to organize and support women with cervical cancer.” Her talk is the featured keynote address on Sat., Sept. 22 at 8:30am.

Ms. Brinker will discuss the power of women’s stories as a key tool in cancer advocacy, share how she helped build one of the world’s largest cancer advocacy organizations, and share where she believes America as a whole – and cancer advocates individually and communally – should focus next in combatting cancer deaths.

Cervivor School is a networking, educational and motivational event that brings together and mobilizes cervical cancer patients and survivors to become more involved in the cervical cancer awareness and prevention movement. It supports women with training and tools to powerfully tell their stories to a range of audiences – including legislators and policy makers.

Falmouth, Mass.-based Team Maureen is co-hosting the event with Cervivor.org. More than 40 women are expected to attend the Cervivor School – Cervivor’s 10thsuch training. More than 600 women have attended Cervivor School and similar trainings offered by Cervivor’s predecessor organization, Tamika & Friends.

“The more we are willing to share our stories, the lives we can save. We can support women diagnosed with cervical cancer. We can educate about effective prevention with Pap testing, HPV testing and HPV vaccination. And, importantly, we can elevate our voices together to reach policy makers to ensure that cervical cancer screening and prevention programs are funded and implemented,” said Cervivor’s founder Tamika Felder.

“It is often personal stories that can most inspire people to take steps toward change,” highlighted Team Maureen’s founder Eileen Lind.

Cervivor School will be held at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, Mass., with sponsorship from Cape Cod Health Care, Hologic, BD, Genentech and Roche.

About Cervivor

Cervivor builds a community for cervical cancer survivors, family members, educators and caregivers to advocate for HPV awareness, cervical cancer prevention, to create meaningful networks across survivors and experts in the field; and to ultimately change the future of women’s health.

About Team Maureen

Falmouth, Mass.-based Team Maureen was founded in memory of Maureen E. Russo, a loving sister, daughter, wife and mother who passed away from relapsed cervical cancer at the age of 37. Team Maureen’s mission is to end cervical cancer by educating about the HPV cancer connection and the importance of prevention and early detection.

###

Interested in attending or receiving photos of the event? Contact:page2image1633392

Shelley Ducker

sduckercommunications@gmail.com

202.255.0561

To Jillian, With Love On Her Birthday

36. Jillian should have celebrated her thirty-sixth birthday today, but she won’t. She’ll never celebrate another birthday. She’ll never eat birthday cake. She’ll never snuggle with her kids. She’ll never enjoy her favorite holiday – Halloween. She lost her life to cervical cancer.

The last time I saw Jillian was last year on her birthday. It wasn’t joyous. I think we all tried to make it joyous, but it was quite sad. Jillian was in hospice and she was nearing the end. I plotted with her friends and family to surprise her, and surprised she was.

I had never been to hospice before. Despite all the work I do in the cancer community I had never visited someone in hospice. I don’t know what I was expecting, but whatever it was that is not what I saw. In fact, it was just the opposite of anything I think of what “in hospice” would be like. Jillian’s hospice was beautiful. It was serene and everyone was friendly. It didn’t feel of death. Until I walked in and saw Jillian. There she was, sitting in her bed looking like Jillian, except she was very pale and her hair was darker. She was also quiet. Something that Jillian was not.

When she saw me walk into her hospice room, she looked as if she had seen a ghost. In some ways; I assume I looked that way too. I sat in a chair on the side of her bed. She reached out to hold my hand. Her hand was cold. My hand was warm. Jillian kept stroking my hand with hers and she looked intently at me. She kept commenting how warm I was. I’m always warm. My cold friends are always snuggling up to me and soaking up my warmth. Normally, I don’t mind, but this time I felt so uneasy about it. Perhaps because I could see the inevitable in her eyes. Perhaps she could see that reflection in mine. Perhaps because I so desperately wish I could fix it. Or perhaps it’s because we both knew this would most likely be the last time we saw each other — and it was. But that won’t be my final memories.

My memories of Jillian will be her potty mouth, that she had some soul to her, that she didn’t want to die, that she didn’t want to leave her boys, that she was sad the medical advancement didn’t happen fast enough for her.

I’ll remember what an outspoken advocate she was. I’ll remember her telling me from her hospice bed that the work I do is important and to keep it up. With so much death it can be hard to keep doing this work. But that is exactly why I can’t give up. Via social media I watch as Jillian’s friends, family and boys go on without her. At times it is painful and I have to keep scrolling. But this is why the elimination of suffering and death due to HPV related cancer — especially, cervical cancer has to keep pushing forward. The time is now. I’ll continue this work not only for Jillian. But for Curtissa, Nanette, Lisa and so many others, too. It’s what Jillian would have wanted. It’s the only birthday present that I know she would want. Happy Birthday, Jillian! You are missed.

Tamika Felder is a women’s health advocate, educator, mobilizer, author, and the Chief Visionary at Cervivor, a nonprofit dedicated to cervical cancer advocacy and support.