Knowledge is ________.
You fill in the blank!
You can always go with the first word that likely pops into your mind – POWER – but I encourage you to think outside the box a bit and go with something different…for now…
Here’s what comes up for me!
Knowledge is CONNECTION.
Anyone who is involved with Cervivor knows that connection is a huge part of “who we are.” It is through our shared experiences that we connect via social media, Cervivor events, and relationships. This connection is rooted not only in experience but also in the knowledge of those experiences and the important information that we come to learn because of it all. Information about HPV, cervical cancer, prevention. Information that, combined with connection, tends to result in “power by numbers” as a collective force of advocacy and change.
Which leads me to my next word…
Knowledge is ACTION.
I’ve seen it happen a lot – and it’s so exciting to witness. Once people have reliable and important information, they usually can’t help but DO something. Knowledge spurs action in some way or another. Whether it is action for self by scheduling exams or staying on top of screening, action for others by encouraging friends and family or sharing information, or action for the cause and greater good by sharing personal stories as an advocate and impacting change in the HPV and cervical cancer space. At Cervivor, we see this continually in our patient advocates – working hard to take the information they have to “go and do” and make an impact in so many ways.
Knowledge is PREVENTION.
Whether you’re a cervical cancer patient/survivor or not – being armed with important knowledge about HPV and cervical cancer can ultimately lead to prevention and help towards eliminating this disease that we now know is preventable. Knowing what causes cervical cancer, being up-to-date on current screening guidelines and practices, being informed about vaccination all affect the impact that this disease can have. When we’re informed, we can advocate for our own preventative health or that of a loved one. When we’re informed, we know what to look for and ask for at the physician’s office. When we’re informed, we can make decisions to reduce disease. When we’re informed we know the importance of prevention.
So now, I’ll circle back to the one “go-to” word that fills in that blank…
Knowledge is POWER.
Knowledge does lead to connection, action, and prevention – but all of those add up to POWER. Power that can save lives and impact change. As patient advocates, this informed power is a driving force of what we do, how we lead, and the change we make at Cervivor.
I’ve seen this power firsthand at Cervivor School – one of our main outreach programs that educates and trains cervical cancer patients and survivors to become patient advocates. It’s wonderful to witness so many at Cervivor School realize the impact they can have as we empower them with information and support. As patients and survivors, they realize the unique platform and influence they have. That combined with relevant information, their personal stories are perhaps the most potent force they hold.
Your turn! Knowledge is ___________.
Heather Banks is Cervivor’s Lead Advocacy Educator and recipient of the 2016 Cervivor Champion Award. As a 13-year cervical cancer survivor, she is an active advocate for HPV and cervical cancer awareness and prevention. Heather’s advocacy efforts have included testifying to the FDA in 2013 for co-testing efforts, speaking to government representatives in DC, and becoming a member of Cervivor’s Leadership Team. Heather lives in Indianapolis, Indiana where she is an Instructional Coach and Specialist at the elementary level. She loves spending time with her husband and two children; ages 16 and 13.