In honor of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month this January, we share with you an invaluable community resource called Cervivor, which gained its start through the visionary efforts of cervical cancer survivor Tamika Felder.
When Tamika Felder was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 25, she felt totally isolated and alone. It was an “embarrassing” and “stigmatized” cancer to talk about, and there were not support groups or patient meet-ups to connect with, learn from and gain support from.
Tamika’s treatments were ultimately successful, but the chemotherapy, radiation and surgery left her changed both physically and emotionally. And still, even in that “life after cancer” phase, she felt alone and disconnected from anyone who had been through what she had gone through.
To fill that void, she created an organization to help herself and other women. What started as “Tamika & Friends” back in 2005, is now Cervivor - an organization dedicated to cervical cancer support, advocacy, education and prevention.
Today, the Cervivor community connects thousands of women impacted by cervical cancer at all stages - in the throes of diagnosis, undergoing treatment, or dealing with the realities of life after cancer.
“Cervivor is for women who not only want to plug into a community of support, but who also want to make their experience count – to make their survivorship count,” says Tamika. “As a Cervivor community, we want to be there for each other, but we also want to arm each other with the tools to educate and to advocate, so that no other woman has to go through what we’ve gone through.”
The organization empowers women to share their story and their experiences – to be a voice of support and wisdom for others confronting cervical cancer, and to make sure that the disease cannot be ignored or stigmatized.
In addition to a website rich with first-person “in our own words” stories, Cervivor also has a “CervivorTV” channel on YouTube, with videos and interviews. Beyond the virtual online support community it fosters, Cervivor also promotes local “Meet Ups” across the country and organizes a “Pap Rally” and fun runs. Particularly unique is its Cervivor School – part retreat, part “boot camp” to help cervical cancer survivors confidently tell their story and hone their advocacy skills so that they feel comfortable speaking at community health events, sharing on social media and even testifying at policy meetings. Some Cervivors have even shared their stories in front of the U.S. Congress as part of health policy debates!
Making a Contribution
Soul Source is a proud donor and supporter of Cervivor. As part of our mission to help women regain and maintain their sexual health after cancer treatment, we work to combat stigmas and give a voice to women's sexual health and rehabilitation. We are honored to contribute to Cervivor's vast resources and educational efforts.
If you would like to support their efforts, make a donation via Cervivor.org/donate.
“No more fear. No more shame. No more confusion. No more whispering. No more suffering. No more women dying. CERVIVOR IS HERE! We understand. We’ve been through it. We are going through it. We are your support. We are a sisterhood. We are your educators and your advocates. We are voices that roar instead of whisper. We are a movement to end cervical cancer. We are here for you,” says Cervivor’s home page. Become part of the community! Visit Cervivor.org; connect to the Facebook group (www.facebook.com/cervivor/) or follow @iamcervivor on Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.