Today, we’re celebrating a special edition of #TealandWhiteTuesday. Our Founder and Chief Visionary, Tamika Felder is celebrating 21 years of Cervivorship!
Tamika was just 25 years old when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer on April 12, 2001. She endured a hysterectomy stripping her of her fertility, followed by chemotherapy, and radiation. Cervical cancer changed her life forever.
In 2005, she started Tamika & Friends, Inc. a nonprofit dedicated to cervical cancer survivors and their friends and family. At the time there truly wasn’t any support for cancer survivors and the Internet was just getting off the ground. Tamika needed support. She found the more she told her story, the more it reached other women. Tamika wanted to help empower others to share their stories and that’s how Cervivor was born!
But Tamika didn’t stop there. She understood her calling of living her life beyond a cervical cancer diagnosis. Over the years, she has continued to transform the lives of each person impacted by a cervical cancer diagnosis. Tamika not only empowers them to use their voice, but she teaches them that their pain can have purpose, and they have the power to create change.
Here are a few things she’s learned as she looks back on her experience with cancer:
- I was a survivor from the onset of my diagnosis. Each day is survivorship. Sure, there are huge milestones. The first year, the magical number 5. But what matters is each day is another day from the one before.
- No matter your faith (or lack thereof) cancer is scary. And it’s okay to be scared.
- We all get by with a little help (or really a lot) when it comes to cancer from our friends/family.
- You won’t ever be the same. As with any traumatic experience you are forever changed.
- Accepting that cancer has changed you and living in the “new normal” means that you can move forward. Even if it’s at a slower pace.
- Life is meant to be lived. And it doesn’t matter how much time. Sure, I’ve never be told that there is nothing left but what I’ve learned from others who have is that you have to live while you have life within you.
- Surviving cancer doesn’t mean you have to live in a bubble. It also doesn’t mean you have to become a daredevil.
- Surviving means living.
Tamika has dedicated her life to cancer advocacy from eliminating the stigma of the human papillomavirus (HPV) (and being deemed a “Cancer Rebel” by Newsweek), to training patient advocates to share their stories, and to eliminating the healthcare disparities within communities of color.
“My greatest lesson is that life comes with an expiration date — from cancer or otherwise. It matters what we do with our time here. Life continues to surprise me. I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 25. I’ll be 47 this year and life is still surprising me in the best way possible. I don’t know how many years I have left, but what I can tell you is that I am going to live in a way that says I survived cancer.”– Tamika Felder, Founder and Chief Visionary, Cervivor
This is only a small fraction of what Tamika has accomplished since she began her journey with cervical cancer and we couldn’t be more grateful for her resilience and leadership to create the community we now know as Cervivor. Thank you, Tamika!
Join us in celebrating Tamika’s 21 years of Cervivorship by:
1. Start living life for YOU. Don’t wait until something traumatic happens to start living life.
2. Vote for Becky’s video. People die of cancer. I’m blessed to still be here.
3. Donate $21 to Cervivor.
4. Schedule your cervical cancer screening.
5. Vaccinate your children and protect them from HPV-related cancers.