Q&A with Morgan Newman, Community Engagement Liaison for Cervivor Inc.
Path to a Bright Future campaign partner Cervivor Inc. is a leading global community of patient advocates who inspire and empower those affected by cervical cancer. Cervivor educates and motivates these advocates to use their voices to help end stigma, influence decision-making and change, and end cervical cancer.
In October 2022, the St. Jude HPV Cancer Prevention Program partnered with Cervivor to deliver HPV Cancer Survivors School. This program empowers cervical cancer survivors to use their own experiences to help create positive change for other survivors and for newly diagnosed patients.
We talked with Morgan Newman, community engagement liaison for Cervivor, to learn more about Cervivor and her journey.
Q: How did you become involved with Cervivor and what do you do in your current role there?
I actually stumbled across Cervivor from a hashtag on Instagram. I signed up for a patient advocacy retreat called Cervivor School and fundraised my way there. It was then I found my voice in advocacy. Afterward, I came back to my community in Iowa to put the tools I learned into practice. Because of my advocacy, I was awarded the Cervivor Champion award in 2018 and have since been hired as an employee for the organization. I do a little bit of everything since there are just the two of us, but my main focus is to elevate and develop programming for our community.
Q: How have you been impacted by being a part of the Cervivor community?
I have grown so much as a person and as an advocate with this community. It has helped me feel like I am not alone and that I have a sense of purpose. The community helped me when I needed it most, and now I get to give back to them.
Q: What are Cervivor's plans for Cervical Health Awareness Month?
We are excited to be launching a new theme for Cervical Health Awareness Month! Along with it, you'll see a ton of stories, information about cervical cancer and virtual events. We also brought back our virtual Pap Rally & Run that goes from January 1 through 29. We encourage everyone to join us in spreading awareness, doing something active, and having a bit of fun, too!
Q: What advice would you give parents or caregivers to protect their children against cervical cancers?
Please get screened, get vaccinated and have important conversations with your primary care physician. I rarely share this part of my story, mainly because it took me a while to accept it. The HPV vaccine came out when I was around 15 or 16 years old, and I told my mom I wasn't going to get it because it was too new and "that will never happen to me." The truth is, it did happen to me. I was diagnosed at the age of 24 and again with a recurrence in my lungs nearly a year later. No one could have predicted a cancer diagnosis, and now we have more than 15 years of data, we have a vaccine, and we can prevent HPV cancers for future generations.
Q: How can we learn more about Cervivor and how to support these efforts?
Our website, Cervivor.org, has information for anyone interested in learning more about HPV and cervical cancer, getting involved with Cervivor, reading the stories of the Cervivor community or connecting with us on social media.
For more information, email PreventHPV@stjude.org.