Message from Executive Director
I’ll never forget the night Tamika called and said, “Angie, I have to tell you something. I have cancer, and I could die.” All I could muster is “What do you mean you have cancer?” I couldn’t comprehend that someone so young and vital could be so sick. And I’d never heard of HPV – the common virus that Tamika had been told was the cause of her illness.
Words cannot explain the sadness I felt for my dear college friend. I was concerned about how she would beat cervical cancer, but I was also worried about how she’d deal with the loss of her fertility because her treatment required a radical hysterectomy. I knew in my heart that she was going to need a good friend — in fact, lots of good friends — to get through this.
The amazing support system Tamika found in her friends and family while she was sick made her want to start a non-profit to help others who get the same news. Choosing the name Tamika & Friends was the easiest part of forming this organization. Our ongoing challenge is finding new ways to spread the word about preventing and treating HPV and cervical cancer, so that one day this disease will be eradicated.
You may ask, “What can I do to help?” Here are some ideas:
- Take good care of yourself. Go for your annual pelvic exam. If you are under 30, make sure you get a Pap test. If you are 30 or older, get an HPV test along with your Pap test. Find out more about the tests.
- Research the HPV vaccine. See if it’s right for you and/or your daughter.
- Be a good friend. If you know someone with cervical cancer, be there, be there, be there. It might be scary and uncomfortable for you, and your friend might act like she doesn’t want you around, but she still needs the support of friends to see her through.
- Spread the word about HPV and cervical cancer with a House Party of fiVe (HPV). Use our party kit to host a party for your girlfriends. A House Party of fiVe mixes girl talk with games teaching about HPV and how to stay safe in those intimate moments. The parties are fun, not lectures, and you can customize your party to fit your style!
- Spread the word more formally with a Say Something event. Invite women from all parts of your life. The Say Something project provides handouts, a PowerPoint presentation and a video. You don’t have to be a great public speaker to do this – our tools help make your event a success.
- Share your story. Please add your survivor, tributes and caregiver stories. We want you to be an inspiration to others facing cervical cancer.
- Join the Pearl of Wisdom Campaign. This cervical cancer awareness campaign reaches women, healthcare providers, policymakers, health advocates, and the media. Buy and wear a Pearl of Wisdom.
Support Tamika and Friends, Inc. We know that there are so many important causes in the world that need financial support – eliminating cervical cancer is one of them. If you’d like to make a donation to Tamika and Friends, Inc., click here.
Yours in Health,