When I was originally diagnosed in 2018, I decided that I wanted to recover from surgery and move on with my life. I didn’t want to hear the word “cancer” anymore. But in April 2019, my life changed as I was informed I had a reoccurrence of cervical cancer and I decided I wanted to be a change agent.
I started with my community by sharing my story with those connected to me via social media but in 2021 I felt like it just wasn’t enough. After speaking with the Cervivor community, I decided to redefine my patient advocacy in 2022.
Here’s a snapshot of how my 2022 has gone so far:
January 2022 I participated in an interview with NPR (National Public Radio) in reference to cervical cancer among Black women that was aired in Georgia and via their social media handles. I also joined the Texas HPV Coalition to raise awareness as it relates to the HPV vaccine.
February 2022 I was a panelist for the Black Women and Cervical Cancer Webinar hosted by Cervivor. My children and I were also a part of a PSA for HPV Awareness Day through the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable and Association of Immunization Managers that was featured on television and in physician’s offices in Tennessee and also via their social media handles.
March 2022 I completed volunteer training with the American Cancer Society which allows me to share my story locally through ACS CAN. I also completed a radio interview with Zakiya Jenkins who is based in Iowa in reference to cervical cancer in the African American communities. This interview was aired in Iowa and on Ms. Jenkins’ social media handles.
April 2022 I spoke at the Women of Color, Inc. brunch as it relates to cervical cancer among Black women, prevention, and early detection. I also spoke at YES Prep secondary school through the American Cancer Society where I shared my story and encouraged families to research the HPV vaccine.
May 2022 I spoke at Green Valley Elementary school through the American Cancer Society where I shared my story and encouraged families to research the HPV vaccine for their children. I was also chosen to be a Cervix committee Patient Advocate through NRG Oncology.
June 2022 I spoke at the HPV forum with the American Cancer Society, shared my story at a National Cancer Survivor’s Day event in Charleston, SC, and was a panelist for the Tigerlily Listening Summit powered by Labcorb, in which I shared my story and shared my experience as a patient including the disparities among African American women.
As a result, the last six months have blown my mind and have shown me just how much our stories have the power to create change. I encourage all of you to share your story. Be a change agent for this community and get active because you can redefine your advocacy in 2022!
Kimberly is the 2022 Cervivor Rising Star recipient, a joy-sparking, active member of the Cervivor community who is moving mountains. Thank you for all you are doing to end cervical cancer!