Honors in Advocacy for our Leaders in the Mission to End Cervical Cancer

In the relentless mission to end cervical cancer, every victory, every recognition, is a puzzle piece of hope, a testament to the dedication of those who tirelessly advocate for progress. Today, we are honored and humbled to celebrate the remarkable achievements of three extraordinary individuals who have devoted their lives to championing the cause of cancer patients, survivors, and advocates.

Tamika Felder, Founder & Chief Visionary

At the forefront of our celebration is Tamika Felder, our Founder and Chief Visionary, whose journey from patient to nonprofit founder has been nothing short of inspiring. In 2001, Tamika faced a daunting diagnosis of cervical cancer, a moment that would change her life forever. Determined to turn her personal struggle into a source of strength for others, Tamika founded Cervivor in 2005, an organization dedicated to educating and empowering cervical cancer patients and survivors to share their stories and make a difference.

For the past 19 years, Tamika has been a trailblazer in the mission to end cervical cancer, always advocating for the voices of patients and survivors to be heard. Her commitment and relentless efforts have earned her the incredible honor of being appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Board by President Joe Biden. This appointment is not only a testament to Tamika’s extraordinary leadership but also a recognition of the vital role that she and Cervivor play in shaping the future of cancer research, treatment, and prevention.

The National Cancer Advisory Board plays a crucial role in guiding the Director of the National Cancer Institute in setting the course for the national cancer research program. As we work towards President Biden’s ambitious goal of ending cancer as we know it through initiatives like the Cancer Moonshot, Tamika’s appointment ensures that the voices of cervical cancer patients and survivors will be heard loud and clear at the highest levels of decision-making.

Morgan Newman, MSW, Community Engagement Liaison

We are also thrilled to celebrate the achievements of Morgan Newman, our Community Engagement Liaison, who has been selected as a patient advocate member for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Gynecologic Cancer Steering Committee (GCSC) Cervical Task Force (CTF). Morgan’s dedication to ensuring that patient voices are integrated into the development and evaluation of clinical trials is truly commendable. Through her involvement in these committees, Morgan is helping to shape the future of gynecologic cancer research and treatment, ensuring that the needs and perspectives of patients are always front and center.

Kimberly Williams, MHCM, Chief Diversity Equity & Inclusion Officer

Last but certainly not least, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Kimberly Williams, our Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer, for her continuous role as a patient advocate member for the Cervix/Vulva Cancer Committee for NRG Oncology. Kimberly’s tireless advocacy efforts have been instrumental in improving the clinical research process and ensuring that patient perspectives are always prioritized. Her recent appointment to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee further underscores her commitment to advancing equity and inclusion in cancer research and treatment for all.

As we celebrate these remarkable achievements, we are reminded of the power of advocacy and the incredible impact that individuals like Tamika, Morgan, and Kimberly can have in the mission to end cervical cancer. Their dedication, passion, and advocacy serve as an inspiration to us all, and we are proud to stand alongside them in the quest for a world free from cervical cancer.

To learn more about Tamika Felder’s appointment to the National Cancer Advisory Board, please see the official press release from the White House [here].

The Language of Cancer

Cancer gives us a new vocabulary. Some words and phrases we embrace and some just do not resonate with us. We asked our Cervivor community to share a word or phrase that they find or found challenging to hear during and after cervical cancer treatment.

Just saying or writing the word ‘cancer’ hurts so much. ~ Marlene B

There was a resounding, collective group sigh at the phrase “new normal”. Nothing about cancer is normal and the ability to go back or to regain any sense of BC (before cancer) normalcy is completely unattainable. Treatment may end, surgery is done but we live with life-long physical and emotional side effects that you just do not ‘get over’. As Anne Z says, “Cancer is something I just have to deal with”.

“You don’t look sick”

This hosts a multitude of triggers for those living with both acute and chronic illness. It’s taken me years to learn how to unpack (to recognize why I react) and respond authentically to this one… yet can still really hurt emotionally. To everyone here, you are seen… even if the illness or situation is not. ~ Lori S

“You look good”

Although I know it comes from a good place, I hate when people say ‘you look good’ knowing I don’t look anything like I did before my third diagnosis. I am not sure why it bothers me so much but I always smile and say ‘thanks’. I also cannot stand when people say, ‘I don’t know how you do it’… like what was I suppose to do, give up? I wish they could just simply say, ‘I admire your strength’. ~ Jenn M

“You got this”

I think I prefer the statement, ‘I’ve got you’ as it comes across as more supportive. ~ Hilary B

“Preventable”

This word really stings for me. This is truly just my hang up because of my situation but I completely understand and agree with why it’s used now. For me though, it gives me chills because it makes me feel like if I would’ve done something different I wouldn’t have cancer. It just stings because the HPV vaccine wasn’t an option for me (I’m too old) and I have had my screenings religiously every three years since I was 18. ~ Tammy S

“Only”

Like, it’s ‘only surgery’ or it’s ‘only stage __’. It can come from anyone but it especially stings when it comes from fellow Cervivors. This cancer is life changing, brutal and leaves us with awful after effects no matter the stage or treatments. It makes you feel like you’re viewed as a lesser cancer patient. ~ Elizabeth A

“Incurable”

I have put zero stock in this word since I first heard it. Fact is I’m living with cancer not dying from it and I have a lot of living left to do. ~ Christy C

“They lost their battle” or “They beat cancer”

I don’t think it’s a competition and no one wins or loses. I chose to say ‘I’m surviving cancer.’ ~ Carol L

I hate thinking about people losing… ~ Jessica S

When someone says this, it always makes me cringe. ~ Brooke W

“Move on”

Don’t you think I know that already? It’s a process that takes time to heal both physically and mentally. ~ Anna O

People who have maybe not gone through or cared for a loved one with cancer, often have well-intended but somewhat off-putting comments that many of us struggle to accept. We smile, accepting these ill-fitting words, as we know they come from a place of kindness and concern, but we hope that others can be more mindful when speaking to cancer patients and survivors. Or perhaps chose to say nothing and simply offer your hand to hold — this speaks volumes.