Stephanie is a cervical cancer survivor and Caroline is the Child Health Program Manager at MaineHealth. Both are advocates for the HPV vaccine.
Your generous support makes cancer prevention possible for Mainers. Thank you!
Challenge Cancer 2020 is our visionary initiative to cut cancer rates in Maine by 2020. Our goal for a Maine less burdened by cancer requires active participation from people and communities across the state. Our success depends on inviting key stakeholders to the table to share strategy, tactics, and experience.
We recently sat down with Caroline Zimmerman, Program Manager for Child Health at the Center for Health Improvement at MaineHealth. Caroline also serves on Maine Cancer Foundation’s Board of Directors, co-leads the prevention and early detection workgroup, and has participated in several grant review committees.
Two years ago, in the middle of a coastal Maine summer, Stephanie Ferrie was training for a triathlon. An avid runner, she chalked up the slight changes in her body, including unusual discharge, as merely hormonal. Summer turned to fall and her symptoms persisted. As the whispers of her body grew louder, she finally made an appointment with her OB-GYN. A mother of four, Stephanie never had an abnormal pap smear or tested positive for HPV. “My doctor put the speculum in and saw a mass on my cervix, 3 centimeters, right there,” said Stephanie.
The biopsy revealed cervical cancer caused by HPV. Fortunately, the resulting PET scan showed the tumor was only in her cervix. The choice now turned to the course of treatment. Guided by a close friend who faced similar choices many years ago, Stephanie made the decision for a radical hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix). The final pathology showed early metastasis to a lymph node in her groin, which resulted in an additional five low-dose chemotherapy sessions and 28 rounds of radiation. “[My friend] made me feel so good about it that I wasn’t even scared. Plus, my cervix was a pain with four kids anyway!” she joked.
The crisp fall air turned to the darkening days of winter and six weeks of treatment for cervical cancer. “It was all very surreal,” said Stephanie. After the hysterectomy, chemotherapy followed to desensitize cells in preparation for radiation. “Tuesdays were four hours of uninterrupted girlfriend time,” Stephanie reflected. “Every week [of chemotherapy] was just for me.”
We are currently accepting applications for two open grant areas: patient navigation and general operating grants.
Maine Cancer Foundation is currently accepting grant applications for three-year capacity-building grants to create or expand navigator positions that will identify and eliminate barriers that prevent individuals from getting high quality cancer care in Maine.
Please see below or visit www.mainecancer.org/apply-grant for more information and instructions on how to apply online!
For this month's Challenge Cancer 2020 feature, our partners at WMTW-TV highlight the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis for Mainers. The story also includes one of Maine Cancer Foundation's 2016 transportation grant recipients at the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing.
Your generous support helps ease the financial burden for cancer patients throughout our beautiful state. Thank you!
In our latest blog series called Snapshots, we turn to Maine Cancer Foundation constituents - from staff, board members and other volunteers, donors, grant recipients and beyond - to share important moments in their lives related to cancer. Our series will paint a broad stroke of the cancer landscape in the state, while narrowing the focus into the rare and intimate moments that bring us all together.
For this month's Challenge Cancer 2020 feature, our partners at WMTW-TV highlighted one of Maine Cancer Foundation's 2016 colorectal screening grant recipients at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Waterville.
Your generous support helps prevent countless colorectal cancer diagnoses throughout our beautiful state. Thank you!
In honor of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Maine Cancer Foundation staff wore navy blue clothing - the official color of colorectal cancer awareness.