Cervivor School Seattle Reflections

In the heart of the Pacific Northwest, amidst the city landscapes of Seattle, Washington, a group of resilient cervical cancer survivors recently gathered to embark on a patient advocacy journey that transcended the boundaries of a traditional classroom.

Cervivor School, an immersive patient advocacy training program for cervical cancer survivors hosted by Cervivor, Inc. trained 23 new attendees with a deep dive into the psychosocial aspects of cervical cancer and paired it with the latest science to help them understand the scope of the national and global disparities. In this blog post, we will take you on a reflective journey through the empowering experiences, inspiring stories, and invaluable insights gained during the Cervivor School in Seattle:

“I went to Cervivor School, afraid of not belonging, but I returned with a feeling of sorority and acceptance. Cervivor School exceeded my expectations by far. There was an energy and a contagious passion. I felt enlightened and empowered like never before. After hearing the stories of these extraordinary women, it gives me more reasons to do something to end cervical cancer.” – Claudia Perez-Favela, California

“This past weekend was amazing. Cervivor School was so informative. The knowledge gained is beyond words. I felt so empowered being in a room filled with so many powerful women and the love and support given is just fantastic. I felt a sense of belonging from the get go, there was no awkward moments in the room and I loved that. I admired how everything tied in nicely. I applaud Team Cervivor for the work they put into Cervivor School to make it a reality.  Once again, thank you for allowing me to be part of this.” – Nymphia Emmanuel, St. Lucia

“Firstly, I was so privileged and grateful for the opportunity to attend Cervivor School in Seattle Washington. Meeting with other Cervivors, sharing our stories encouraging each other to be empowered, and learning together how we can all make a difference in our society by advocating for others against cervical cancer and HPV. My personal goal is to gain my voice, knowing that I have the power to help eradicate cervical cancer mortality rates. Sharing my story and being a “Pillar” of hope to someone is making a difference.” – Davina Woolward, Guyana

“It was an incredible opportunity to connect with fellow survivors and advocates with whom I have shared journeys and passions. The sense of belonging and support within the Cervivor community is a big extended family and the knowledge and skills I gained during my time there were invaluable. Learning from experts in cervical health and hearing the inspiring stories of resilience from others was not only educational but deeply empowering. It was a reminder that I am part of a strong, compassionate, and dedicated network working together to raise awareness about cervical cancer, and the HPV vaccination and make a positive impact and a change in women’s health. Cervivor School left a permanent mark on me, and I am grateful for the chance to be a part of such an incredible community.” – Julianna Colley, Georgia

Before we shift our focus to celebrating the remarkable individuals who have earned the prestigious title of Cervivor Champion, we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the dynamic speakers and passionate advocates who graced our event with their insights and experiences – Thank you to Dr. Linda Eckert of the University of Washington, Dr. Hyo Sook Bae of the National Cancer Institute, Roshanda Pratt of the REP Network, Kiara Long of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Carolyn Kay of Roche Diagnostics, Dr. Sarah Villarreal of the University of Washington, Dr. Leeya Pinder of the University of Cincinnati, Christina Turpin of the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable, Dr. Yolanda Evans of Seattle Children’s Hospital, Kate Weissman, Cervivor Ambassador, and the incredible team at Cervivor for the impactful conversations and necessary information to become well-informed patient advocates. A special thank you also goes out to Mike Hill and Sue Collins of Moonshine Agency for selecting Cervivor School as an exclusive film screening for Conquering Cancer in the United States.

Next, we extend our warmest congratulations to the exceptional individuals who have been named as the newest Cervivor Champion award recipients. Your dedication, resilience, and unwavering commitment to the fight against cervical cancer have not only transformed your own lives but have also left an indelible mark on our community.

As Cervivor Champions, you embody the spirit of advocacy, turning your personal journeys into powerful forces for change. Your voices and stories inspire, educate, and empower others to take control of their health and join in the mission to end cervical cancer. We celebrate your achievements, and we look forward to witnessing the positive impact you will continue to make in the world of cervical cancer advocacy.

Congratulations to Anna Ogo, Anne Zajic, Cindy Trice, Josyln Paguio, and Kadiana Vegee!

In our relentless pursuit to end cervical cancer, the voices of patient advocates are not just valuable; they are absolutely necessary. Patient advocates are the heart and soul of our movement, the driving force behind the progress we’ve made, and the torchbearers of hope for a future free from this devastating disease. Their lived experiences, their determination, and their unwavering commitment serve as inspiration and hope for individuals facing a cervical cancer diagnosis, and as a powerful catalyst for change within healthcare and policy systems.

Patient advocate voices remind us that behind every statistic is a human life, and that the fight against cervical cancer is not just a medical journey, but a deeply emotional taxing one. As we move forward, let us continue to amplify these voices, to listen, to learn, and to stand together in the unshakable belief that one day we can, and will, bring an end to cervical cancer.

Together, we are a force to be reckoned with, and with each voice that joins our mission, we come one step closer to a world where cervical cancer is but a distant memory.

Lastly, Cervivor, Inc. would like to thank our generous sponsors for supporting our mission of educating and empowering individuals impacted by cervical cancer to take action and create change in their local communities and beyond. Thank you, Hologic, Seagen, Genmab, and Genentech.

On National Nonprofit Day

Since 2017, National Nonprofit day has been recognized on the 17th day of August annually. This day is set aside to acknowledge nonprofit organizations and the impact they have made on the communities they serve. Here at Cervivor, we are reminded of the impact that nonprofits have on communities by making the world a better place. This day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the vital role that nonprofits play in addressing societal challenges, fostering empathy, and creating positive change. From local grassroots initiatives to international humanitarian efforts, nonprofits come in all shapes and sizes, yet they share a common purpose – to uplift, inspire, and provide aid where it’s needed most. 

Founder and Chief Visionary of Cervivor, Tamika Felder, created this nonprofit organization understanding the importance of cervical cancer education, empowerment, advocacy, and support. Originally founded as a small support group, it now spans across the globe spreading awareness, support, and advocacy for those that have been impacted by cervical cancer. As a global organization Cervivior continues to work diligently to ensure that no one feels alone in their fight. No matter where in the world you are, if you’ve been impacted by cervical cancer, Cervivor has a place for you, with a community that will support you throughout your journey. This organization understands the importance of “community” even when it is virtual, and continues to create opportunities for life long connections and bonds. 

Sophie shares how this organization has impacted her life as a Cervivor community member in the UK:

“Cervivor has helped me to not feel alone. I met my wonderful friend in this group and we have journeyed together for the last 2 years almost. I am from the UK and currently visiting her in Canada. Forever thankful for the beautiful friendship I’ve gained from this group. Cancer was nowhere near as lonely as it would have otherwise been.”

Additionally, the Comfort Care and Compassion Program was officially launched on this day two years ago with the help of Community Engagement Liaison, Morgan Newman and a committee of volunteers. The program was developed to support those impacted by cervical cancer at any stage of their journey. It served 121 individuals by the end of 2021.

Now, in the eighth month of 2023, it has served nearly 200 individuals with tote bags, support resources, words of encouragement, and more. Cervivor now offers the request form via the website allowing more patients, survivors, family members and friends, as well as care teams to request the right support for their loved ones.

Understanding the continuous need to expand our footprint, Kimberly Williams was added as the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer here at Cervivor. In this role, she is a key contributor in recommending, developing, implementing and managing Cervivor’s U.S. and global diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. This organization understands that diversity is a strength and when these differences are embraced it can encourage better results in our communities. 

As Cervivior continues its longstanding committment in diversity work with the addition of Kimberly’s role, Cervivor has developed four diverse private groups to provide a safe, relatable space for members to express how cervical cancer impacts their lives and their communities. The four private groups include: Cervivor Africa, for those that were born, raised, or reside in the continent of Africa; Cervivor API for those who identify as Asian or Pacific Islanders; Cervivor Caribbean, for those that were born, raised, or reside in the Caribbean islands, and Cervivor Noir, for those that identify as Black. Adding the aforementioned groups provides us with access to communities through education and trained patient advocates who can provide influence to ultimately end cervical cancer.

We could not work toward our mission to ultimately eradicate cervical cancer without your generous support. On this special day, we encourage you to join the movement and show your support for this nonprofit organization. Here are a few meaningful ways you can get involved:

  • Volunteer: Dedicate your time and skills to a cause you care about. Sign up here.
  • Donate: Every little bit counts. Consider making a financial contribution to Cervivor to help further our mission.
  • Spread Awareness: Use the power of your voice and social media to raise awareness about cervical cancer. Share stories, impact, and accomplishments to inspire others to get involved too!
  • Attend Events: We have plenty of amazing events coming up on the calendar. Check it out and register to join us!

As we celebrate National Nonprofit Day, let us express our deepest gratitude for being a part of this journey with us. Together, we can continue to uplift one another and drive positive change that ripples far beyond our immediate reach and one day, eliminate cervical cancer once and for all!