PRESS RELEASE: Cervical Cancer Survivors Train for Advocacy at “Cervivor School”

 

Cervical Cancer Survivors Train for Advocacy at “Cervivor School” During Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month

Susan G. Komen founder Nancy Brinker to speak to cervical cancer survivors about strategies that drive awareness and impact policy

Sept. 17, 2018 – Timed to Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, cervical cancer patients and survivors from across America and Europe will come together Sept. 20-22 in Cape Cod, Mass., to learn how to leverage their own personal stories to become advocates for cervical cancer education, prevention and policy change. Convened by Cervivor, the “Cervivor School” will feature Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen and the regarded global leader of the breast cancer / women’s cancer awareness and prevention movement.

“I look forward to sharing my story and more importantly, communicating to these brave women the power of their own stories, and how they can make a positive impact in their communities, this country and around the world,” said Ms. Brinker. “I am honored and excited to speak to the Cervivor School, which is doing great work in helping to organize and support women with cervical cancer.” Her talk is the featured keynote address on Sat., Sept. 22 at 8:30am.

Ms. Brinker will discuss the power of women’s stories as a key tool in cancer advocacy, share how she helped build one of the world’s largest cancer advocacy organizations, and share where she believes America as a whole – and cancer advocates individually and communally – should focus next in combatting cancer deaths.

Cervivor School is a networking, educational and motivational event that brings together and mobilizes cervical cancer patients and survivors to become more involved in the cervical cancer awareness and prevention movement. It supports women with training and tools to powerfully tell their stories to a range of audiences – including legislators and policy makers.

Falmouth, Mass.-based Team Maureen is co-hosting the event with Cervivor.org. More than 40 women are expected to attend the Cervivor School – Cervivor’s 10thsuch training. More than 600 women have attended Cervivor School and similar trainings offered by Cervivor’s predecessor organization, Tamika & Friends.

“The more we are willing to share our stories, the lives we can save. We can support women diagnosed with cervical cancer. We can educate about effective prevention with Pap testing, HPV testing and HPV vaccination. And, importantly, we can elevate our voices together to reach policy makers to ensure that cervical cancer screening and prevention programs are funded and implemented,” said Cervivor’s founder Tamika Felder.

“It is often personal stories that can most inspire people to take steps toward change,” highlighted Team Maureen’s founder Eileen Lind.

Cervivor School will be held at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, Mass., with sponsorship from Cape Cod Health Care, Hologic, BD, Genentech and Roche.

About Cervivor

Cervivor builds a community for cervical cancer survivors, family members, educators and caregivers to advocate for HPV awareness, cervical cancer prevention, to create meaningful networks across survivors and experts in the field; and to ultimately change the future of women’s health.

About Team Maureen

Falmouth, Mass.-based Team Maureen was founded in memory of Maureen E. Russo, a loving sister, daughter, wife and mother who passed away from relapsed cervical cancer at the age of 37. Team Maureen’s mission is to end cervical cancer by educating about the HPV cancer connection and the importance of prevention and early detection.

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Interested in attending or receiving photos of the event? Contact:page2image1633392

Shelley Ducker

sduckercommunications@gmail.com

202.255.0561

Being a full-fledged Cervivor

I pulled into the parking lot of the Cancer Support Center in Indianapolis one icy January morning, with butterflies in my stomach. My social anxiety was on full-blown high alert as I sat in the car, staring at the building where other cervical cancer survivors were gathering for a Cervivor School event. I took deep breaths. I counted. I wished it wasn’t too early for a stiff drink. But I gathered my courage and walked in. And I haven’t looked back since.

After my whirlwind bout with cervical cancer in 2014, life went back to normal… for everyone else. I tried to find that normal that everyone else so easily slipped back into, but it eluded me. I pushed cancer, and the baggage that came with it, to the back of my mind. I left the online cancer groups that supported me during my diagnosis. I let my cancer blog grow cold and stopped giving updates. I tried to ignore the fears of recurrence that lurked beneath the surface. I tried to hide my tears as I lie awake at night, thinking of the children I so desperately wanted but could no longer carry. I smiled and stayed busy, searching for a normal that doesn’t exist after a cancer diagnosis.

Then one day, with my 2-year cancerversary quickly approaching, I received a Facebook message from Erica, a fellow cervical cancer survivor. She friended me and invited me to an upcoming Cervivor School in Indianapolis. I was hesitant, but intrigued by the thought of meeting other survivors face to face. I decided to give it a try, reassuring myself that Indianapolis was only a few hours from home and I could easily leave if I felt uncomfortable there.

That first Cervivor School I attended was a small, intimate gathering of cervical cancer survivors and caregivers. The other women shared their stories and, for the first time, I shared pieces of mine. Until that day, I hadn’t thought much about my cancer story and how it is intrinsically woven into the fabric of my life. I had spent so much time trying to ignore it, that I was overwhelmed with relief when I was able to finally talk about my experiences. I saw my story reflected in the eyes of the other women who had walked the same path as I. We laughed. We cried. We learned about the medical side of cervical cancer and HPV, and about effective advocacy. I asked questions, and got answers. I let my guard down, and found a sisterhood that filled a hole in my heart I didn’t even know existed. For the first time, I didn’t feel quite so alone. 

I went on to attend another Cervivor School in Charleston, SC and helped plan and attended one in Louisville, KY. I’m so grateful to have had these opportunities and look forward to attending the next school in Florida in June. I learn new things at every Cervivor School and enjoy spending time with other women who truly “get it”. It has not only helped me learn the skills and strategies I need to be an effective advocate for the eradication of cervical cancer, it has also helped me heal. I recognize the personal growth I’ve experienced over the past year and a half, from struggling to accept my identity as a cancer survivor to being a full-fledged Cervivor.

Read Jessica’s Cervivor story here: https://cervivor.org/stories/jessica/