Forever Grateful for Caregivers

Each November we celebrate those who we as cancer patients and survivors consider to be our heroes, our confidants, and our lifelines. They are the ones who continue to show up day in and day out, day after day to help us navigate the ups and downs of our complicated cancer world.

No one can walk through this alone, nor should they. We know all too well how it takes a village and then some. Being a caregiver isn’t just loving someone, it’s digging through your own fears, using all of your heart, and becoming the light for the both (or group) of you.

Our community shared the people in their lives who make things brighter and kinder, and who continue to be there for them in every way. On this special edition of Teal and White Tuesday, we are standing on our mountain tops shouting our gratitude and love to all our besties, our mothers, fathers, sisters, children, nieces, partners — every loved one who has held our hand, drove us to endless appointments, rallied meal trains, helped with childcare and never hesitated to be our Teal and White Tuesday cheerleaders. You are all amazing and so very appreciated!

My grandniece is my sunshine. ~ Patti

My best friend and husband Sota! This is the photo of when he made me laugh while I was struggling with radiation in the waiting room at the radiology clinic. He was there for every single appointment with me. ~ Anna

My brother Mario! He traveled from Mexico City to drive me to chemo appointments and take care of me afterward. He is the best nurse ever! ~ Gilma

My mom and sister were here with me a couple of days after my hysterectomy. They surprised me with their new shirts! ~ Livvy

My tribe have been my biggest supporters (along with my family of course!) ~ Kimberly W.

My husband has been so strong for me even though he was suffering too. ~ Alexia

This is my best friend Erica, she calls me her platonic wifey. We’re going to be Golden Girls together. She delivered me to radiation appointments, brought me food, and entertained my teen throughout my treatments. ~ Laura

My hubby Richie. He always puts that smile, calmness, and sense of peace in this journey. Our daily: Laugh at each other and with one another! ~ Arlene

My brother Luis took care of everything from rides to another city for my treatments and surgeries, to taking me out for a burger (without my doctor’s permission!). He made me laugh and made sure I always felt the love. ~ Karla

My tribe… I couldn’t do this without my husband, family, and friends. ~ Jenn

Dave, Braylon, and Kiara. They are my world! ~ Tammy

I had a village too, but my main two people were my sister and my mom and to this day, they still are. They came to every single appointment and treatment. Three years on now and my sister does my dressings every week and both help me when fatigue still hits. I’d be lost without them. ~ Kim

My Mom! She came from Puerto Rico to be with me during my surgery and all my treatments. It was a blessing having her; she made sure I was eating well and resting. She lived all of this experience with me and it made us bond even more afterward. Words cannot describe the love I have for this woman. ~ Carmen

We thank our community for sharing such wonderful lights with us and we encourage you to continue to share your caregivers with us all year round. Send us a photo and a small blurb and we’ll highlight them!

Did you know we have a special shirt just for caregivers in our online shop? Check them out here.

HPV Cancer Survivors Take On Memphis

Cervivor and St. Jude partnered for an all-HPV cancer survivors school to train patient advocates representing anal, cervical, oropharyngeal, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

The weekend kicked off with a welcome reception and special message from Founder and Chief Visionary, Tamika Felder. The evening was filled with conversation and an energizing music compilation from DJ Malone. (You better believe there was some dancing to be had – ehem, Jason).

Saturday morning started bright and early with information-packed sessions ranging from learning the basics of HPV and cancer to finding your voice and expanding the survivor advocacy footprint.

We heard from Andrea Stubbs, MPA and Administrative Director of St. Jude’s HPV Cancer Prevention Program and the important work that St. Jude has been working on in the HPV cancer prevention space. Dr. Heather Brandt gave us the latest data on HPV, HPV cancers, and what advocates need to know.

Lead Cervivor Educator, Heather Banks and Tamika Felder led the attendees through how to make their survivorship count. Their session was followed by a patient panel moderated by oral cancer survivor, Jason Mendelsohn, and featuring anal cancer survivors, Lillian Kreppel and Calvin Nokes, as well as cervical cancer survivors, Karla Chavez and Kimberly Williams.

After lunch, Visibility Coach and Founder of the REP Network, Roshanda Pratt ignited the advocacy flame in helping the attendees identify their stories in just three words. Roshanda is known for her mantra of “Visibility is power” and she has helped us understand that “Transparency is the new currency” and that it is progress over perfection in our advocacy that matters most.

We heard from Dr. Vetta Sanders Thompson, an E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity and Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Washington University in St. Louis. She gave us a psychological, data driven presentation over addressing the common concerns about HPV vaccination with an interactive activity.

The day was rounded up with a presentation by Cervivor Community Engagement Liaison, Morgan Newman on how to expand the survivor footprint followed by a session of what’s next – leaving the attendees with a call-to-action. The attendees became graduates, receiving a certificate of completion and a celebratory reception including a live band at Beale Street Landing.

Cervivor, Inc. and St. Jude are incredibly honored to have hosted 30 HPV cancer survivors now turned patient advocates from across the nation (and a few international advocates too).

We invite you to join us on March 3, 2023 for International HPV Awareness Day to help spread awareness, screening, and prevention of HPV cancers. Mark your calendars now!

Cervivor, Inc. would like to take this moment to thank St. Jude for becoming an impactful partner in furthering the mission to end HPV cancers.