Although it is the end of January, we wanted to pay homage to Cervical Cancer Awareness Month by sharing one of our favorite Cervical Cancer awareness and survivor stories:
Meaghan’s surgery scars don’t stand a chance against her tattoo!
She has told her story to millions of people all over the country, but it was almost as if she was sharing it for the first time when I spoke with Meaghan Edelstein, the youngest survivor of terminal cervical cancer.
It was 2007 and Meaghan was a 28 year old law student, like anyone else. She noticed some unusual bleeding that led her to several doctors who tested her, scanned her, and advised her that nothing was unusal. As the bleeding and discomfort increased, she knew that something was wrong but no one would listen to her concerns. She was perscribed anti-anxiety, sleeping pills and, finally, szitchoprenia medication to alleviate what others were claiming as feelings resulting from “over stress due to law school”. A desperate night where she nearly cut open her stomach sent Meaghan to the Emergency Room demanding answers. Something was inside of her and she wanted it out. She knew she was dying.
What the tiny cameras did not see, while looking for cysts and tiny tumors during doctor visits, was a giant tumor that was pushing up against her organs. She was diagnosed with 3B terminal cervical cancer and started on her journey though chemo and radiation. Told that she did not have a chance to live, she ignored the recommendation to give up and pushed herself through treatment, greatful to finally be heard: if nothing, she had a diagnosis.
Read the rest of Meaghan’s story here on the Imerman Angels Blog
With the 2012 Team Imerman fundraising up and running, we wanted to take a moment to share the story of one of Team Imerman’s runners.
At the age of 31, John Crowley was diagnosed and treated for a tumor in his lung. John was lucky enough to undergo a successful surgery that removed the tumor, which resulted in his recovery and four year remission.
While John was fortunate enough to have great family and friends support him during his battle with cancer, he wishes he would’ve had someone to talk who had been going through the same thing.
“After working in the oncology industry for over 10 years and contacting doctors all over the country, I couldn’t find one person who had experienced the same type of cancer that I had,” John recalls.
This is why John feels strongly about the mission of Imerman Angels. He recognizes the need for cancer patients to be able to connect with others who have gone down the same path and survived. With this mission in mind, John is inspired to raise money and run with Team Imerman.
On February 11, 2012 John celebrated his fourth year of remission by wearing the Team Imerman jersey and competing in “The Toughest Event on the Planet”, the Tough Mudder Race in Atlanta.
John’s positive attitude and efforts to give back are what make him the perfect advocate for Imerman Angels and we are proud to have him on our team!
Even though we are well into the New Year, it is still not too late to start your New Year’s resolutions. You have plenty of time to make 2012 a year of living healthy and happy. Here are a few steps you can take to get healthy and stay healthy!
- Protect yourself from the sun: While we are still enduring the chilly winter weather, this precaution may have slipped your mind. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and the most preventable. ALWAYS wear sunscreen in the summer, especially between 10a.m. and 4p.m. when the sun is the hottest!
- Add 30 minutes of exercise to your day: Whether you go for a walk around the park with your dog, or take a yoga class with a friend, adding exercise to your daily routine can help reduce your risk of cancer. Exercising helps to maintain a healthier weight which lowers your risk of cancers such as prostate, lung and kidney. Physical activity alone may lower risks of breast and colon cancer.
- Eat your fruits and vegetables: We know you hear this all the time, but that’s because it’s true! Any doctor will tell you that by eating more fruits and veggies, and lowering your intake of red meat, salts, and sugary foods will help to reduce your risk.
- Early Detection: We are lucky to have technology that will detect cancer in its earliest stages. Regular self-exams and screening can detect multiple types of cancer, increasing the success of treatment.
- Cut back on alcohol: It is ok to drink in moderation, but consuming alcohol regularly in large amounts can increase your risk of cancer such as: breast, liver, colon, and kidney. While wine contains good antioxidants, you can find the same benefits in grapes as an alternative!
Resources: Mayoclinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer-prevention/CA00024
Core Value # 3: Never let fundraising distract us from our mission
Of course we graciously and gladly accept donations! However, we believe it’s most important to dedicate our time, energy, and resources to our mission.
At Imerman Angels, we want to stay focused on what’s really important in the work that we do: making connections. We’re able to do this with help from fantastic supporters, like our friends at AKTA Web Studio, who recently donated the proceeds from a trivia night to benefit personalized 1-on-1 cancer support.
Below is a message written by Pascale from AKTA:
“How much can something intangible like hope, faith or optimism be worth? For a cancer patient, these can be invaluable–life saving even. Imerman Angels is an inspiring organization that wants to make these intangibles procurable for cancer patients. John Roa, head wizard at AKTA web studio, has witnessed this first-hand as his family member faced the fight against duodenal cancer years ago and will never forget the impact a social network, mentor and friends made. All over the world individuals have to fight the horrors of cancer, but Imerman Angels ensures they won’t have to go at it alone.
We are a UX/UI strategy and design startup company based in Chicago and have been blown away on so many occasions by how such a huge place can seem so small. Everyone is always so ready and willing to lend a hand (or two), share experiences, offer help, create connections and come together. We decided it was time to give back to the community, so we invited a subset of Chicago’s tech and web thought leaders and friends to join us in a friendly game of trivia. Our only hope was to fill a room with great people, educate them about an irreplaceable cause and have fun. With every attendee’s donation matched by AKTA, a fun night of trivia helped to ensure that the Imerman Angels service remains completely free to those in need–we LOVE that.
Thanks to everyone who came out to support the cause and thanks to Imerman Angels for being so fantabulous to coordinate with. We hope this is the first of many Pascale and AKTA team.”
We’re so happy to have had the opportunity to work together with AKTA and are thankful for their continued support!
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The mind is a powerful force. This year, Brain Tumor Awareness Month reminded us of one man in the brain tumor community who shows just how powerful, especially in times of adversity, the mind can be.
Eric Galvez considers himself to be a ‘mAss kicker’:
1. Someone who gets an intimidating diagnosis, hears the words,
“we found a mass in your _____ (insert important body structure here),” and
refuses to let it control their life.
After being diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumor, Eric underwent surgery and radiation therapy. When it was time to begin several months of rehabilitation, Eric got into the ‘mAss kicking’ mindset and prepared himself to take on any obstacles and physical impairments he might face – and he did it with vigor.
On top of never missing a single appointment, Eric continuously asked his physical therapists to schedule extra meetings. While requiring almost total assistance in nearly everything he did post-operation and radiation, Eric assured his doctors that, one day, he would surf again.
It was during his time in rehabilitation that Eric recognized the power that his brain had over all of his physical limitations.
“A brain tumor is not necessarily a ‘death sentence’.
Part of me was reborn with a new attitude that said,
Eric’s new “Why not?” outlook on life didn’t remain his alone. His mindset and perseverance spread to everyone with whom he came into contact, impressing even doctors who said that Eric, “challenges you; he motivates you; he takes you to another level.”
Eric Galvez is proof that, “The only thing limiting yourself is yourself.” As a ‘mAss Kicking’ leader in the brain tumor community, Eric inspires us to know that we “can accomplish anything that you really want to” – all we have to do is put our minds to it.
As Brain Tumor Awareness Month comes to an end, pass this video and Eric’s message along to three people you know who are affected by brain cancer, and keep spreading hope for other mAss kickers out there…long after the month has passed.
Much like Jonny Imerman, the founder of Imerman Angels, Eric Galvez knows the immeasurable impact that results from one person sharing knowledge and inspiration with someone else who is experiencing the unknowns of cancer. Check out the website on his organization, mAss Kickers, for more info: http://masskickers.org/
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