We Are Cervivor: Spirit Week 2023 Recap

Cervivor Spirit Week gives our community a chance to bring some fun to an otherwise serious topic of cervical cancer awareness and prevention. As our Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Committee Co-Chair, Jenn Myers says, “It can be a heavy topic but we are the voices that need to do this work.”

We definitely had a ton of fun with everyone this week as we splashed social media with so much teal & white awareness! We love how many people took notice, shared their stories, and joined in on our cause.

Cervivor Español unofficially kicked off the spirit week with a MeetUp on Saturday then we transitioned into the theme days starting on Sunday! Sports Day Sunday brought out all the sporty-Cervivors representing their favorite teams. Lisa Gopman reminded us to get our cervical cancer screening and vaccinate our kids against HPV all while showing off her Bengal pride.

There were so many great Movie Monday quotes from some classic Hollywood films. Kel Bel spent the weekend watching Harry Potter movies with her daughter while recovering from her hysterectomy and shared this Albus Dumbeldore line that hits her every time, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Mic drop.

Our Cervivor Noir and Cervivor API groups kicked off their inaugural MeetUps to further our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion for anyone impacted by cervical cancer. There were stories shared so powerful and we cannot wait to see the work they all do in furthering our mission to end cervical cancer. (If you identify as Black, join Cervivor Noir and if you identify as Asian or Pacific Islander, join Cervivor API).

On Talk to Me Teal & White Tuesday we asked you what Cervivor means to you and here’s what you shared with us.

Cervivor means no one fights alone.” ~ Christy

Cervivor means sharing our stories and using our voices to spread awareness and to end cervical cancer and to let other women know they are not alone.” ~ Brooke

You gave us all the cozy vibes on Warm Up Wednesday and Cervivors were sharing pics snuggled under blankets and some with their pets. Joy shared the unconditional love from her cat and Arlene was living the Wonder Woman Snuggie life.

The favorite food of choice on Tasty Thursday seemed to be none other than… tacos! They really are the perfect food! Sharing our tasty treats helped us get ready for Saturday’s amazing session, Cooking with Tracy Citeroni, who demonstrated a versatile, healthy and delicious quinoa ‘risotto’. You can grab the recipe here to cook on your own!

We even kicked off our first-ever Cervivor Book Club meeting by discussing Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly! As we headed into our weekend, we asked you to share your happy places on TGIFriyay. Sand, surf, mountains, lakes, fireside, wilderness trails, and museum strolls hit the top of your lists for joy-inducing places we like to be.

And we ended this year’s spirit week with a favorite, Sock It To Cervical Cancer to bring out your favorite statement socks with a Cervivor flare!

Through this time, we continued to honor the joy and Cervivor spark of our late Cervivor sister, Jodi Madsen. Cervivor Spirit Week was one of her favorite things from last year and she was a master in fun content creation and social media advocacy.

We hope this week has inspired you to continue these ways of advocating throughout the rest of 2023. It is truly incredible to see the power of our community and it’s a great reminder that we are Cervivor and we are unstoppable!

Cervivor School Nashville Was Outstanding

The 13th patient advocacy training known as Cervivor School was held in Music City U.S.A. or better known as Nashville, Tennessee. This was an intimate group, made up of first-time and returning attendees and we hosted some of the most dynamic speakers to educate and empower our 2022 class.

Like any other Cervivor School, we kicked it off with a special Welcome Reception where attendees were able to mingle and get to know each other right off the bat. We heard inspiring words from Heather Banks, Lead Advocacy Educator, and Tamika Felder, Cervivor Founder and Chief Visionary.

Tamika and Heather kicked off the first day with a dedication to and moment of silence for those who have died from their cervical cancer and are no longer able to share their stories. It was a powerful reminder that our mission to end cervical cancer is not over and there is still much work to do. Tamika also shared how putting a human face to cervical cancer is a critical part of our cause and why we should share our stories.

Later we heard from Community Engagement Liaison, Morgan Newman, Lead Cervivor Ambassador, Carol Lacey, and Cervivor Ambassadors, Karla Chavez and Karen North. They shared what it means to be a patient advocate, how they fulfill the role to make an impact, and what advice they have for others in mastering survivorship and advocacy. Then we heard from Michelle Whitlock, author of  “How I Lost My Uterus and Found My Voice,” and how she decided to use her voice after cervical cancer followed by empowerment groups and a session on life during and after treatment with Heather.

Cervivor Ambassadors Carol Lacey and Morgan Newman led an interactive session, Healing Through Writing, in honor of Erica Frazier Stum who thought of and led the session in the years prior. After listening and sharing each others’ creative writing, we ended the day by creating an individualized advocacy action plan to be put in place after leaving Cervivor School.

Day two is our Medical Day where we get the latest and most advanced information on the human papillomavirus (HPV), the HPV vaccine, and cervical cancer screening. We started the day by understanding cervical cancer screening guidelines, the impact of the patient perspective, and how important it is in our advocacy work. It was a great reminder from Dr. Lia Bos that our stories are powerful and when we partner our voices with physicians and clinicians in the field, we leverage our impact even more. We also heard from Andrea Stubbs, MPA, representing our community partner, St. Jude, and their HPV Cancer Prevention Program. She shared her work and provided ideas and information about supporting HPV vaccination efforts so we can powerfully advocate for vaccination as prevention!

We were inspired by Catherine Tyler as she led us through a discussion on living with and through significant illness and treatment while staying true to our aspirations and our authentic selves. And Tamika and Heather helped our attendees practice potential advocacy scenarios, establish advocacy norms, and finalize our advocacy action plans to put in place after leaving Cervivor School.

Lastly, we rounded out the Cervivor School weekend with a graduation ceremony for our attendees and Tamika awarded not one but two Cervivor Champions for 2022!

Jenn Myers and Kimberly Williams have both embodied what a Cervivor Champion is.

Jenn is a metastatic and recurrent cervical cancer patient currently undergoing treatment and is still leading and advocating despite it all and Kimberly continuously shares the importance of vaccination and cancer screening when it comes to HPV, cervical cancer, and communities of color.

Our newest Cervivor School graduates are empowered, ready to share their stories, and eager to connect with leaders in their local communities. Team Cervivor cannot wait to see their advocacy in action and how they decide to make their survivorship count!

We would like to extend our gratitude to our Cervivor School Sponsors Hologic, Seagen, Genmab, and Genentech.