Redefining Patient Advocacy in 2022

When I was originally diagnosed in 2018, I decided that I wanted to recover from surgery and move on with my life. I didn’t want to hear the word “cancer” anymore. But in April 2019, my life changed as I was informed I had a reoccurrence of cervical cancer and I decided I wanted to be a change agent.

I started with my community by sharing my story with those connected to me via social media but in 2021 I felt like it just wasn’t enough. After speaking with the Cervivor community, I decided to redefine my patient advocacy in 2022. 

Here’s a snapshot of how my 2022 has gone so far:

January 2022 I participated in an interview with NPR (National Public Radio) in reference to cervical cancer among Black women that was aired in Georgia and via their social media handles. I also joined the Texas HPV Coalition to raise awareness as it relates to the HPV vaccine. 

February 2022 I was a panelist for the Black Women and Cervical Cancer Webinar hosted by Cervivor. My children and I were also a part of a PSA for HPV Awareness Day through the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable and Association of Immunization Managers that was featured on television and in physician’s offices in Tennessee and also via their social media handles.

March 2022 I completed volunteer training with the American Cancer Society which allows me to share my story locally through ACS CAN. I also completed a radio interview with Zakiya Jenkins who is based in Iowa in reference to cervical cancer in the African American communities. This interview was aired in Iowa and on Ms. Jenkins’ social media handles.

April 2022 I spoke at the Women of Color, Inc. brunch as it relates to cervical cancer among Black women, prevention, and early detection. I also spoke at YES Prep secondary school through the American Cancer Society where I shared my story and encouraged families to research the HPV vaccine.

May 2022 I spoke at Green Valley Elementary school through the American Cancer Society where I shared my story and encouraged families to research the HPV vaccine for their children. I was also chosen to be a Cervix committee Patient Advocate through NRG Oncology.

June 2022 I spoke at the HPV forum with the American Cancer Society, shared my story at a National Cancer Survivor’s Day event in Charleston, SC, and was a panelist for the Tigerlily Listening Summit powered by Labcorb, in which I shared my story and shared my experience as a patient including the disparities among African American women.

As a result, the last six months have blown my mind and have shown me just how much our stories have the power to create change. I encourage all of you to share your story. Be a change agent for this community and get active because you can redefine your advocacy in 2022!

Kimberly is the 2022 Cervivor Rising Star recipient, a joy-sparking, active member of the Cervivor community who is moving mountains. Thank you for all you are doing to end cervical cancer!

A Lifetime of Cancer Prevention Gains – and Still Counting

In the 1970s, the White House made a concerted effort to research, educate and make gains around the prevention of cancer. President Nixon signed The National Cancer Act in 1971. State health departments began to receive grants to research ovarian cancer screenings in 1974. By 1979, the surgeon general published diet guidelines that aided in cancer prevention.

This was happening in my lifetime – well, some of it. I’m younger than I look (well, I’d like to think so), but I want to point out that while the study of cancer as an epidemic began in the 18th century, it has only been about 50 years that we’ve committed time, research, funds and our stories to help find a cure.

And there’s still work to do!

For Cervivor, cancer prevention is a daily endeavor. We host discussions, connect with cervical cancer patients and their families, and advocate for health policies. But in February, National Cancer Prevention Month, we go full force with our partners to shine a light on the need for more attention, research, and cures for the numerous cancer categories that continue to take away beautiful lives from our families, circles of friends, and networks.

Need some ideas on how to observe the month with Cervivor? We’ve got ideas but would love to hear yours too. Your voice matters in this community.

Tamika Felder and fellow “Cervivors”.

I’m passionate about using my voice to prevent not only cervical cancer but all types. Cancer in too many forms has touched my life, my parents’, immediate family, distant family, and people in my community. Cancer is a horrific thing, and I want to be a part of the movement. While we can’t prevent all cancers, cervical cancer has a first-line to prevention. I hope in the future we have more preventive ways to save people from all cancers, and I’m ecstatic to know that the White House continues to support and rally to “end cancer as we know it.” 

Earlier this month on February 2, 2022, President Biden committed to reducing the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years. YES! He published a statement of support vowing to improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer and eradicate the disease. This commitment further propels me to do this work with our members and our partners.

In the words of President Biden this month, “It’s bold.  It’s ambitious.  But it’s completely doable.”

Interested in learning more?

Tamika Felder is a 20-year cervical cancer survivor, an award-winning television producer, author, blogger, podcaster, mentor, motivational speaker, and nonprofit founder. By telling her story, Tamika inspired other women to start speaking about HPV and cervical cancer, which led to a network of survivors supporting each other and educating each other. From this network, Cervivor was born.