21 Years of Cervivorship

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.

Our Resolutions To Ourselves As Cancer Survivors

Throughout Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, we focus on outreach and educating others. But in this time of new year’s resolutions and new beginnings, let’s not forget about ourselves. A few resolutions for life beyond cancer include: 

  • No longer sweat the small stuff. We know just how short life can be. Therefore, let’s not waste time on things (or people!) that really don’t matter, or build us up.
  • Cherish the people who really matter to you.  Our time is precious. Choose to spend it with people who matter.
  • Love the skin you’re in. We may all yearn for our lives before cancer. But the truth, following our experiences, we are no longer that person. Embrace the new you. It just might surprise you!
  • Try to leave fear behind: Those of us who are still here are blessed to be alive, no matter the physical or emotional limitations. We may be plagued by fear of re-occurrence, occasionally or continually. But it’s important to keep that in check and  live… like never before.
  • Enjoy life. Give yourself permission to enjoy, relax, and to rest and reset. 
  • Be adventurous. Do things that scare the crap out of you. Why? Because they remind you that you’re still here.
  • Spend time outdoors for physical and mental health. Whether you want to exercise, find a quiet space to sit, or even just picnic outside with friends, the outdoors is a great space to be in the moment, find beauty in the world and forget about responsibilities that may induce stress.
Survivors keeping one another motivated and challenged! They understand!
  • Make “healthy” fun: Find ways to make your health goals also fun goals. For example, schedule walks with friends instead of lunches or dinners. At Cervivor, we offer the “Survivor Slimdown” – a Facebook community focused on health and weight loss that is both supportive, motivating and fun.
  • Plug in to your community: Don’t be afraid to lean on friends, family and ask for the specific help you may need. The clearer we can be articulating the type of support we may need, the better our support will be. And of course, plug into Cervivor wherever and whenever you need us. We are here for you!

May we all have a happy, productive, fulfilling and healthy 2020!

For more tips on living your best life during and beyond cancer, check out Cervivor Founder, Tamika Felder‘s book, Seriously, What Are You Waiting For? 13 Actions To Ignite Your Life & Achieve The Ultimate Comeback.”